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While Water Protectors give Enbridge an Eviction notice, GOP lawmakers are forcing taxpayers to pay the legal fees for the Enbridge Corporation to continue operating Line 5

May 16, 2021

Last week, water protectors showed up in Lansing and in Mackinaw City to send a strong message to the Enbridge Corporation, that they are now illegally operating Line 5 in Michigan. 

In fact, as we reported on May 4th:

Water Protectors, Tribal Citizens and Grassroot Organizations are mobilizing to demonstrate support for Governor Whitmer and DNR Director Eichinger’s termination of the 1953 easement permit. Great Lakes Water Protector’s would like to invite the ALL Sovereign Tribes of the Great Lakes region and  ALL State Officials from the Executive Office, Governor’s Office, EGLE, State and Federal Congressional and Senate Delegations. Tell the citizens of this State how OUR REPRESENTATIVES plan to proceed with Enbridge’s unwillingness to uphold the decision of the State.

This resistance to the Enbridge Corporation, which is a fossil fuel fascist, has been growing, with Climate Justice movements, particularly indigenous people leading the way. During the Eviction Party last week in Mackinaw City, there were also Water Protectors who came from Minnesota, people who have been fighting the Enbridge Line 3. Long-time organizer, author and Water Protector, Winona LaDuke, who is one of the main organizers against Line 3, spoke at the Eviction Party, which you can watch here.  

Despite all of the growing resistance to Enbridge’s Line 5, on May 12th, the Michigan Senate passed an amendment to Senate Bill 90, which would:

require the state to pay the legal fees of the Line 5 gas pipeline company after Gov. Whitmer revoked the 1953 easement that authorizes its pipeline to cross Mackinac Straits bottomlands, if the company prevails in a lawsuit against the taking.

The amendment to pay legal fees to Enbridge passed 20 – 16, completely on partisan lines, with 20 Republicans voting for the amendment and 16 Democrats voting against it. The amendment was proposed by Sen. Ed McBroom, who represents Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. On May 11th, Sen. McBroom joined other members of the GOP on the lawn of the State Capitol for some public theater, claiming that shutting down Line 5 would take away jobs, as can be seen in the video here.

McBroom and other Republican Senators standing on the State Capitol lawn, claiming to care about workers, is both laughable and absurd, considering how often Michigan Republicans attack unions, oppose an increase in minimum wages, and support massive tax breaks to businesses.

What McBroom and his fellow Republicans are doing with this amendment is to use taxpayer money to pay Enbridge’s legal fees while the fossil fuel giant has made billions in profits and constantly threatens the Great Lakes and all of the adjacent water systems. 

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