Gov. Rick Snyder will lead about 40,000 people on a five-mile walk across the Mackinac Bridge on Monday, continuing a 57-year old Labor Day tradition.
Also on Monday—as happens every day—23 million gallons of crude oil will cross the Straits of Mackinac just west of the bridge, through a pair of pipelines a couple hundred feet below the surface.
The pipelines are older than the Bridge Walk tradition. They were installed in 1953, the first year of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency, when Patti Page’s “The Doggie in the Window” topped Billboard charts and the U.S. Supreme Court was deliberating whether public school segregation was constitutional.
The kids were crazy for this sort of thing when the Straits oil pipelines were installed.
They are owned by Enbridge, the Canadian company responsible for the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history – the 2010 spill of about a million gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River, which is still being cleaned up. The Straits pipelines are older than the one that ruptured in the Kalamazoo spill, but Enbridge has made public very little information on their condition. In July, the state notified Enbridge it needed additional support structures to comply with state regulations.
Enbridge was responsible for more than 1,000 oil spills in the U.S and Canada between 1999 and 2013.
MEC and other groups from the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign will be at the Bridge Walk to gather signatures from participants on a petition urging Gov. Snyder to protect the Great Lakes from a disastrous oil spill. (Signing the petition is quick and easy; click here.) We’re asking the governor to immediately open a transparent, public process under the Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act to evaluate the threat posed by the pipelines and determine what actions should be taken to prevent a catastrophe. Read more