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Several hundred speak up at meeting about Enbridge Line 5 reroute

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Many of the nearly 300 people who attended a 10-hour-long virtual public hearing on Enbridge Energe’s Line 5 pipeline project spoke against the company’s $450 million plan to reroute the oil and gas line across northern Wisconsin.

The hearing began on Wednesday and wrapped up early Thursday. Participants discussed a draft environmental review provided for the proposed 40-mile reroute of Enbridge’s Line 5 across Ashland and Iron counties.

The pipeline carries up to 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids a day and stretches 645 miles from Superior to Sarnia, Ontario, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Enbridge has sought to move the pipeline ever since the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa sued the company in 2019 in attempt to have the line shut down and removed from the tribe’s reservation.

Environmental groups, tribal members, activists and residents from throughout Wisconsin, the Midwest and beyond argued the DNR’s draft environmental review is insufficient and doesn’t adequately take into account dangers such as the risk of spills.

“The draft (environmental impact statement) doesn’t properly recognize how harmful Enbridge’s proposal for a new Line 5 segment would be to Wisconsin’s waters, wetlands or climate,” said Jennifer Giegerich, director of government affairs for Wisconsin Conservation Voters,. “Secondly, this draft EIS fails to recognize the authority of the treaty rights of the tribes of Wisconsin.”

Republican lawmakers, labor unions and the state’s largest business lobby support the project, citing the 700 construction jobs it would create.

Enbridge needs permits from various state and federal agencies before it can move ahead with the project.

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