News & Classical Music from Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Protests in Mackinaw City persist as Enbridge continues to use Line 5

Audrey Gerard
Michigan United
Protesters gather at McGulpin Point, where Enbridge Energy has a pumping station.

Demonstrators continue to protest Line 5 in Mackinaw City on Thursday.

It comes as Enbridge Energy continues to operate the oil and gas pipeline, a day after Governor Whitmer ordered it to be shut down.

Anishinaabe Tribal members led a two mile march this morning from Mackinaw City to McGulpin Point, where Enbridge has a pumping station.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered around a barbed wire fence and posted a symbolic eviction notice.

Sean Mcbrearty from the environmental group Oil and Water Don’t Mix, read from the notice.

“Concerned citizens of Michigan direct Enbridge, a foreign oil company, to immediately abandon operating Line 5 pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.”

Meanwhile, State Representative John Roth from Traverse City calls Gov. Whitmer’s attempts to shut down Line 5 the wrong move. He said doing so would have a negative impact on jobs and resources throughout the state.

“It was clear from the hearing and it’s clear from people I talk to in northern Michigan that a lot of people count on this pipeline,” said Roth. “Taking the pipeline offline isn’t the answer. Putting hundreds more trucks on our roads to account for not having the pipeline isn’t the answer either.”

Beth Wallace disagrees. She’s a demonstrator from Battle Creek.

That’s near the site of a 2010 Enbridge oil spill, which pumped about a million gallons of crude in the Kalamazoo River.

“The river was closed down for years – no one could even touch that river,” she recalled. “If you can imagine that happening here, I mean, it’d destroy our economy immediately (and) for years to come.”

Enbridge Energy says they will continue to run the pipeline for now.

Patrick Shea is a natural resources reporter at Interlochen Public Radio. Before joining IPR, he worked a variety of jobs in conservation, forestry, prescribed fire and trail work. He earned a degree in natural resources from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and his interest in reporting grew as he studied environmental journalism at the University of Montana's graduate school.