Reject Line 5: scenes from the public hearing

06/05/2024 5:13 pm

people gather holding signs opposing line 5 pipeline in ashland wisconsin

Clean water: there is no alternative
Sisters, affiliate and partners in mission travel to Ashland to testify to stop Line 5

FSPA was represented at the June 4 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public hearing regarding a forthcoming environmental assessment of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline expansion. The hearing was held at Northwood Technical College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Enbridge Energy is moving oil dangerously through northern Wisconsin every day illegally in trespass, violating the Bad River Band’s sovereignty. Enbridge is trying to expand that pipeline and operate it for years to come, putting at risk the water, fish, plants, animals, humans and so much more, with the threat of an oil spill. 

Sisters Roselyn Heil, Georgia Christensen, Laura Nettles, Paulynn Instenes, Kristin Peters along with partner in mission and affiliate Meg Paulino and partners in mission Jean Pagliaro and Jane Comeau offered testimony at the hearing. Sisters Marla Lang and Lucy Ann Meyer accompanied the group.

franciscan sisters of perpetual adoration and staff members pose for a photo

The Sierra Club of Wisconsin coordinated a news conference prior to the hearing. The Wisconsin Examiner covered the conference, quoting a member of the Bad River Band: “With [Enbridge’s] deep pockets, they’ll do everything they can to get their way.” said Robert Houle, a member of the Bad River Band’s Tribal Council during the Tuesday press conference. They promise the sun, the moon and the stars. “They promise new jobs and money — but we need clean air and clean water.”

Throughout the day, the public had the opportunity to offer a three-minute testimony in support of or in opposition to the pipeline. Many of the supporters’ key messages included the jobs the pipeline project would bring to the area. Counter to that, the opposition stressed that a pipeline break or increased seepage would cause catastrophic harm. One opponent offered that “it seems the infamous line, ‘kill the Indian, save the man,’ has been replaced with, ‘save the corporation, kill the human.’ To give you a feeling of what it was like to be in the room, the session recordings are linked below.

Outside of the hearing, the representatives from FSPA had the opportunity to engage with several members of the Bad River band, including some who appeared in the “Bad River” documentary.

Sierra Club Community Organizer Jadine Sonoda offered this at the end of the day, “Thank you so much for showing up today and speaking out against Line 5. It was great to see you (and meet many of you!) and spend time together. I couldn't keep track of every speaker throughout the day, but I think it's fair to say that there were many more people with us than against us, and that new people are joining us every day. I'm so happy to be a part of this with you!”

The day was an encuentro. FSPA showed up, building bridges of relationships that stretch us to be people of encounter who stand with all suffering in our Earth Community.

Take Action
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will read written comments through the end of the day on Aug. 4 (this is an extension from the original date). Sierra Club offers this toolkit guiding you on how to submit a comment (or a quick comment link). Writing a personal message makes a big impact! 

Watch the Testimony 
Session #1
At the 3:23 mark, you'll hear from Everlasting Wind who brings experience from Minnesota's Line 3.

Session #2
Sister Georgia read FSPA's statement at the 18:00 mark.

Also Read
WPR: “Public weighs in on proposed pipeline reroute in northern Wisconsin”

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