2017-12-14 / News

Leak of Line 5 Would Affect Lake Superior, Too, Says Group

Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline that runs through the Upper Peninsula on its way from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario poses threats to Lake Superior, according to Marquette-based environmental group Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP). The pipeline runs 280 miles through the U.P., crossing more than 150 rivers and bodies of water that drain north into Lake Superior.

If the pipeline were to rupture and oil were to leak into those waterways, the spill could quickly reach Lake Superior, according to SWP.

For nearly 20 years, the nonprofit partnership has been implementing environmental protection and restoration projects throughout the U.P., including projects in the majority of watersheds crossed by Line 5, and benefits Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron. In 2017, SWP’s Great Lakes Conservation Corps finished more than 120 projects in habitat, watershed, and coastal restoration in each of the 15 counties of the U.P. The projects would be negatively impacted if Line 5 were to leak, the group points out, since restored trout habitat, rare bird habitat, threatened plant species, and many wildlife habitats are all downstream of Line 5.

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and contains more than 10% of the world’s available fresh surface water. Water in the lake is retained for almost 200 years, so pollutants like oil would take about 200 years to pass through, according to SWP.

SWP believes Enbridge’s Line 5 pipelines should be removed to protect the Great Lakes.

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