WGF and Partners Submit Letter to CEQ on Enbridge Line 5 Environmental Impact Review

WI Green Fire, November 15, 2021

Timber mat and construction equipment
Photo: John Spangberg

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) works to ensure consistent application of federal administration environmental policies and priorities across federal agencies. In its hiring announcement for the current chair of the CEQ, Brenda Mallory, the Biden Administration cited climate change and environmental justice (EJ) as two top priorities for the agency’s work. WGF, along with seven Midwestern NGOs working on Enbridge Line 5, recently submitted a letter to Chair Mallory and the CEQ asking that the CEQ work to insure that petroleum pipeline permitting processes include climate change and EJ in their environmental impact statement (EIS) reviews. The administration’s recent positions at the United Nations Glasgow COP 26 climate conference gives further support for the CEQ encouraging comprehensive EIS analysis and review on projects like Line 5.

Line 5 has been in place since 1953, carrying crude oil across Wisconsin and Michigan and crossing National Forests, Tribal Reservations, state, county, and private lands. As pipeline infrastructure deteriorates, there is increasing concern for spills across the Great Lakes region, particularly regarding the proposed re-route of Line 5 around the Reservation of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa that would threaten the livelihood of communities in the region.

WGF and partners requested the following actions in the letter to the CEQ, focusing on the need to consider environmental justice and climate change in future EIS reviews:

• Encourage NEPA review of Line 5 in its entirety, recognizing the lack of historical review in 1953, and the breadth of its impacts on rural and impoverished communities and Tribal Nations.
• Ensure that tribes and local communities can meaningfully engage with the Line 5 permitting process and that climate change and environmental justice goals are fully considered.
• Encourage consideration of direct, indirect and cumulative impacts, emissions projections and alternatives to Line 5 – including a decommissioning alternative – in the EIS consistent with Biden Administration goals and CEQ ongoing rule changes to NEPA.

View the letter here.