July 23, 2019

Sierra Club Responds to Today’s Line 5 Enbridge Lawsuit

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Media Contact:   Anne Woiwode (517)-974-2112
Sierra Club Responds to Today’s Line 5 Enbridge Lawsuit

LANSING, MI--In response to a lawsuit filed today against Enbridge in Wisconsin, Sierra Club said the potential court-ordered shutdown of Line 5 there means any negotiations for an Enbridge Line 5 oil tunnel in Michigan would only end up increasing the risk of a pipeline rupture in the Great Lakes.   

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa filed suit against Enbridge to force the decommissioning and removal of the Line 5 pipeline from the tribe’s reservation.  The action followed two years of failed mediation talks between the tribe and Enbridge and six years of Enbridge’s unauthorized operation of Line 5 following the expiration of its easement agreement the Bad River Band.

“The takeaway from today’s development should be for Governor Gretchen Whitmer to immediately drop any thought of a proposed oil tunnel or other action focused on keeping Line 5 operating in the Great Lakes and as a risk to Michigan,” said Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Chair.  “Delay is not our friend and the oil tunnel is not a solution to protecting the Great Lakes and other Michigan waterways from a Line 5 spill.”

Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in Wisconsin runs across 12 miles of sensitive habitat in the Bad River Reservation.  Enbridge has continued to operate the pipeline for six years since easements allowing it to maintain the Reservation right-of-way expired in 2013, and today’s action seeks to bring the company’s unauthorized presence to an end.

“We have seen in Wisconsin how Enbridge has dragged out a lengthy process that left the Bad River watershed at extreme risk from an aged Line 5 pipeline.  With so much at stake, Michigan can’t chase Enbridge’s oil tunnel vision because there is no end in sight that protects the Great Lakes, “ said Woiwode. “This only reinforces the need for support of Attorney General Dana Nessel’s legal action to begin the process of decommissioning Line 5 in Michigan.”


The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

Anne Woiwode, chair 
Sierra Club Michigan Chapter
Conservation Policy Committee

July 15, 2019

Open Letter to Oakland Co Commissioner Nash on Lead and Copper Rule


July 10th, 2019

Dear Commissioner Nash:

We appreciate our long working relationship with you as a former volunteer leader with the Sierra Club, and your work to protect water quality in Oakland County. Your work to stop sewage overflows and address nonpoint source pollution is important and aligns with the Sierra Club’s goals for protecting water quality.

However, your current position on the Michigan Lead and Copper Rule is at odds with ours. We are writing to clarify the Sierra Club’s position on the Michigan Lead and Copper Rule (MLCR). Sierra Club supports the MLCR as proposed. The reformed MLCR outlaws partial lead service line replacements and requires the state’s utilities to eventually replace all the lead and copper service lines in Michigan. Public education and notification requirements were also included in the reformed MLCR. All of these measures have the support of Sierra Club, and we are working hard to assure that these are implemented statewide.

Michigan is leading the nation as the first state to mandate the removal of all lead and copper service lines, ban the partial replacement of lead service lines (with an exception for extreme circumstances), and require water utilities to pay for the entire lead service line replacement. As you know, Sierra Club joined with many other organizations in seeking to assist the people of Flint after the disastrous poisoning of hundreds of thousands of people because of the disturbing policies of the Snyder administration. The measures in the MLCR cannot make up for the damage done to the residents of Flint, but they are an important step towards addressing the racially charged injustices that lead to the poisoning of a city.

In this important regard, the MLCR aligns with the Sierra Club’s position on environmental justice. Children and those living in neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and aging infrastructure face the greatest risk, and their health and safety must not be compromised by weakening the MLCR. Residents of communities with aging infrastructure are disproportionately people of color and/or low-income, magnifying the importance of environmental justice concerns and accessible public notification/education materials. The MLCR works to address these inequalities.

There is no safe amount of lead in drinking water, and due to the life-long effects of lead poisoning, support of the MLCR is particularly important to Sierra Club members. Michigan can never again allow its children and citizens to be poisoned by drinking lead contaminated water, and the Sierra Club backs the revised MLCR’s mandate to get the lead service lines out of the ground.Sierra Club asks that instead of litigating against the MLCR that you join us in supporting the MLCR and implementing it. Furthermore we ask you to join us in advocating for federal and state funding to assist with the implementation of the MLCR for any communities that cannot bear the cost of lead service line replacement. If you have any questions or need additional information please feel free to contact us.


Gail Philbin, Michigan Chapter Director 

Anne Woiwode, Michigan Chapter Chair

109 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. (formerly Grand River) • Lansing, Michigan 48906 • (517) 484-2372