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New coalition focuses on energy jobs in Wisconsin, line 5 relocation

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(WAOW) -- The Wisconsin Jobs and Energy Coalition announced its formation on Tuesday, focusing on the Enbridge Line 5 project.

Line 5 was installed in Northern Wisconsin and Michigan decades ago. In the years since the line has accrued 29 known oil or natural gas spills amassing over a million gallons, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Courtesy of the Mashkiiziibii Natural Resources

The Bad River Reservation filed a lawsuit against Enbridge in 2019 alleging, "Enbridge no longer has the legal right to operate Line 5 [on the reservation]."

The Tribe's Natural Resources Department detailed Enbridge's impact on the Reservation in a 2020 release. It describes the impact of two helicopter crashes since 2018, erosion of pipes, and a potential impact on waterways.

Enbridge submitted plans to reroute the pipeline around the reservation to the DNR earlier this year. The DNR held a public hearing on July First and is now working on a draft Environmental Impact Survey.

The Wisconsin Jobs and Energy Coalition (WJE) stressed that this reroute will bring about 700 jobs to the area.

Andrew Campeau with Local 11 said, "These are good-paying jobs that our members will have the opportunity to work on."

WJE is made up of unions, contractors, and a Marengo business owner.

Jackson Kysar said in a press conference Tuesday, "We don't have to pick one or the other. We can do both. We can have a pipeline go through and we can protect the environment."

The WJE website details economic benefits from line 5 but does not describe substantive environmental impacts or precautions beyond

Enbridge responde this statement:

"We appreciate the support of Wisconsin Jobs and Energy for the Line 5 Wisconsin Segment Relocation Project.

Line 5 is critical energy infrastructure that transports essential fuels to heat homes, schools, and businesses, power transportation, and fuel industry in Wisconsin, the larger Midwest region, and eastern Canada. Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline continues to operate safely as it has through the Bad River Reservation and northern Wisconsin since 1953.

Enbridge is rerouting a segment of Line 5 at the request of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians.  The Band has filed a lawsuit which seeks to force moving Line 5 off the Reservation.  After evaluating multiple routes, we are proposing an approximately 40-mile route which will minimize environmental and human impacts while protecting sensitive resources.

Earlier this year Enbridge reached agreement with private landowners for critical land rights needed for the relocation of Line 5.  Construction will begin once permits are received.  The project will create approximately 700 union construction jobs."

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Tom Lally

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