Group hopes to encourage shutdown of Line 5
By Marsha Reeves
The Michigan Water Walkers have been moving through our area for the past several days. They started walking to Lansing from the Straits of Mackinac in the midst of the polar vortex in early March, with wind chills in the minus 20 degrees. Now they are well past half way and beginning to think about what lies ahead in Lansing. They have definitely earned the title 'Badass' and they're not even finished with their mission yet.
The Water Walkers are walking and carrying sacred Nibi (the Anishinaabe Language word for ‘water’) from the area where the outdated pipeline, Line 5, crosses under the Great Lakes. They are bringing the water all the way to Lansing, where they hope to encourage our Michigan government to shut down Line 5. Line 5 currently carries around 500,000 barrels of oil per day under the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It carries synthetic crude, natural gas liquids, sweet crude, and light sour crude. It was built to last 55 years and is now over 60 years old. The pipeline is owned and operated by Enbridge, who assures us that the pipeline is perfectly safe. Enbridge also owns and operates the pipeline that spilled nearly a million gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. The Line 5 pipeline carries the oil to Canada where it is refined. Michigan residents do not see much benefit from the pipeline, but bear a great deal of the risk to our waters and land.
One of the Water Walkers, Nancy Gallardo, is also a Water Protector who faced the militarized police at Standing Rock in the fall of 2016. She had these words for all of us about taking care of the water that we all depend on:
“Everyone just be knowledgeable about their community water source. Not just in their homes, but in their children’s schools. Really be mindful of your own community water. Even in small communities there are old landfills and other sources of pollution that are hidden”.
The Michigan Water Walkers were hosted by local families as they walked South on old US 131 and the White Pine trail. Some of our West Michigan people have been sharing the walk with them for a bit too. It's pretty nice to be out walking with these good people on a lovely sunny day, and pretty awesome that they've been out in all of the March weather we've had, walking to encourage us to care for our water.
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