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Windsor chapter supports Bike the Line protest against Line 5 pipeline

Council of Canadians Windsor chapter activist Randy Emerson was in Marysville, Michigan today to support the launch of the Bike the Line campaign against the Line 5 pipeline.

The Line 5 pipeline transports up to 540,000 barrels per day of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil, and natural gas liquids. The pipeline, built in 1953, runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet.

Murtaza Nek and Iona Feldman will be cycling the 1200 kilometre (750 mile) route of the Line 5 pipeline this summer to highlight that threat.

The Times Herald reports, “The Bike the Line protest is an attempt to marshal enough opposition to Enbridge’s Line 5 to convince authorities to shut down the 63-year-old pipeline that carries light crude and natural gas produced in Canada through the United States from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia. Both men [Murtaza and Iona] are members of the sponsoring Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands. They contend the line is unsafe.”

The newspaper (which is part of the USA Today network) highlights, “Randy Emerson, of Windsor, Ontario, was at the protest representing the Council of Canadians, a social action organization. ‘The Straits of Mackinac go into the Great Lakes, and the Great Lakes don’t know a border’, he said. ‘And pollution doesn’t know a border.'”

In a Facebook post this afternoon, Emerson adds, “Spent the day at the Bike the Line kickoff event. People are going to bike the entire length of Line 5 pipeline. That’s the old pipeline that goes under the Straits of Mackinac. Do we really want an oil spill in the Great Lakes? I also got to read a statement by Maude Barlow. Meanwhile, Enbridge was trying to practice and show the media cleanup procedures on St Clair river if there was a spill. I gotta tell ya there wasn’t much action on the river. I didn’t get a sense of urgency from them. If this was a real spill we would be in big trouble.”

Barlow’s statement highlighted, “A recent study found that 1,160 kilometres of shoreline in the U.S. and Canada are considered potentially vulnerable to a Line 5 spill. There are many Indigenous territories around the lakes and the St. Lawrence River Basin with governance and treaty rights, who will also be affected if there’s a spill. Under the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, governments are required to obtain free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous peoples decisions or projects affecting water in their traditional territories – just like the Line 5 pipeline.”

The two cyclists hope to reach Superior, Wisconsin by August 20.

The Bike the Line website can be found here.