Riverbank erosion prompts Wisconsin band to ask for emergency shutdown of Line 5

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WASHINGTON — An Indigenous band is asking a Wisconsin judge to order an emergency shutdown of the Line 5 pipeline.

The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa says ongoing spring flooding risks exposing and rupturing the pipeline on its territorial land.

The band has asked District Court Judge William Conley, who is presiding over the ongoing dispute with pipeline owner Enbridge Inc., to make a decision by Friday.

Court documents show spring flooding has already carved away several metres of the terrain that separates the Bad River from the underground pipeline.

The motion says that erosion has only continued in recent days, and that in some spots the river is less than five metres away.

The band's lawyers call the situation an "imminent threat" to both the river watershed as well as nearby Lake Superior that warrants "immediate action" by the court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2023.

The Canadian Press