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Reynolds: The Line 5 pipeline

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A recent letter writer stated she “can’t understand for the life of (her)” why anyone might oppose the Line 5 pipeline. Here are some points to consider:

Line 5 is a pipeline owned by Enbridge, a Canadian corporation. It transports oil extracted from tar sands in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Edmonton, Canada. Line 5 is a short cut for Enbridge that passes through Wisconsin to move Canadian oil back to Canada.

A proposed update to Line 5 would have bisected the Bad River Reservation. Following a lawsuit filed by the Bad River Band, Enbridge has proposed a route which barely skirts the reservation. Any spill will contaminate the watershed into nearby rivers.

Enbridge has been responsible for 800 spills between 1999 and 2010. The existing Line 5 is estimated to have spilled more than a million gallons since 1968. The largest inland oil spills in the US have been from Enbridge.

When tar sand oil leaks, heavy substances sink to the bottom of waterways. This makes the cleanup process extremely difficult. Conventional oil floats on top of the water making for less difficult environmental cleanup.

Extracting and processing oil from tar sands produce 20% more greenhouse pollutants than conventional fuels. The US has 5% of the world population, yet it produces the second largest amount of greenhouse gases.

When is a good time to say enough? Investing in new infrastructure such as Line 5 to support fossil fuels is irresponsible and a threat to our existence!

Shirley Reynolds, Mount Pleasant

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