A Native American tribe in Wisconsin is suing Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc in a bid to have an oil pipeline that runs across its tribal land shut down and removed.
The Bad River Band filed a federal lawsuit against Enbridge on Tuesday in the Western District of Wisconsin calling for the 12-mile section of Line 5 that runs across its reservation to be declared “public nuisance and a trespass.”
The lawsuit says there is a risk the 66-year-old pipeline could rupture and spill oil, and asks for an injunction requiring Enbridge to stop operating Line 5 on the reservation and to safely remove it.
Line 5 carries 540,000 barrels per day of crude from Alberta to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and Ontario and is a crucial part of Enbridge’s Mainline pipeline network, which delivers the bulk of Canadian oil exports to the United States.
The pipeline is also facing a court battle in Michigan, where the state’s district attorney filed a lawsuit last month asking for an underwater section of Line 5 that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes to be decommissioned.
Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said on Wednesday the company needed time to review the contents of the legal filing.
He added that Enbridge has been in negotiations with the Bad River Band regarding easements, as land use rights are known, since 2013.
“The vast majority of Enbridge’s right of way through the Bad River Reservation is covered by either perpetual easements on private land or a 50-year agreement between Enbridge and the Band, which does not expire until 2043,” Barnes said.