Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has called for the controversial Line 5 oil pipelineto be shut down. Sanders became the second 2020 Democratic primary candidate to seek the closure of the oil pipeline that crosses a channel linking two of the Great Lakes in Michigan.
His call for shut down of this 66-year-old pipeline comes right on the 9-year anniversary of Enbridge’s disastrous oil spill in Michigan when 1 million gallons of oil were spilled into the Kalamazoo River.
“Today, with the climate crisis worsening, we must shut down line 5 pipeline in Michigan and ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure. What we need is a Green New Deal,” said the Vermont senator in a tweet Thursday.
Enbridge pipeline 5 carries 23 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas liquids per day from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario. It runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lakes Huron and Michigan traversing through the large sections of northern Wisconsin and Michigan.
Last year Enbridge reached a deal with Michigan’s former governor, Rick Snyder, to decommission the twin underwater pipes and replace them with a single new pipe housed in a tunnel built in bedrock beneath the straits.
Sander’s call follows a similar message from the Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s who has made addressing climate change the centerpiece of his campaign. Earlier this month Inslee described Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 pipeline and the proposed replacement tunnel in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac as “a clear and present threat to the health of the Great Lakes and to our climate.”
Inslee said the pipeline should be “a major topic” in the upcoming Democratic primary debate in Detroit, calling on his fellow presidential candidates to oppose the Enbridge plan.
Enbridge pipeline 5 will remain controversial with environmentalists and Democrats lawmakers on one side who wants to keep oil out of the straits and Republican lawmakers on the other side who think there is no other way to satisfy demand for energy.
It is unclear what plan would be readily implemented should the Line 5 be shuttered.