ODANAH, WI - The Bad River Band is demanding Enbridge pay millions in damages in order to settle an ongoing lawsuit.
The Band made a letter public sent to the company's leadership by the tribal chairman.
The letter said if Enbridge is serious about settling the lawsuit, the company must pay $45 million in past trespass damages.
The Band also demanded in the letter the company stop operating the Line 5 Pipeline on the reservation and decommission Line 5 or reroute it outside the Bad River watershed.
The lawsuit, filed in July 2019, was an effort to force Enbridge to remove the Line 5 pipeline that runs through the reservation.
Enbridge provided the following statement:
"Enbridge representatives met with leadership of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians last week. “We were pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with the full Bad River Tribal Council and appreciated their invitation to do so. We look forward to continued discussion with the Council in the weeks ahead,” said Brad Shamla, Vice President of Enbridge U.S. Operations.
Enbridge is working expeditiously to move forward with permitting and obtaining necessary approvals to relocate Line 5 off of the Bad River Reservation. Enbridge is rerouting Line 5 in response to the lawsuit filed by Bad River, which seeks removal of the pipeline from the reservation.
Safety is Enbridge’s number one priority, and we remain in daily communication with Bad River staff regarding maintenance activities that are important to the ongoing safe operation of Line 5 across the Reservation, including remediation work along the right-of-way. Currently Tribal citizens make up over 40% of the 26-person construction field crew doing this work.
"We’re committed to continuing to work with the Band to find a solution that respects their needs and desires and provides for the ongoing operation of this important piece of energy infrastructure,” said Shamla. Enbridge’s Line 5 has been safely operating through Northern Wisconsin for over 65 years providing a vital link to propane and other energy supplies for the upper Midwest. The company remains focused on providing safe, uninterrupted service on this critical pipeline that the region relies on for energy."
The lawsuit is expected to go to trial in July 2021.
Here's the letter which was posted on the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Facebook page: