By: - February 24, 2020 7:08 pm

Protest against Line 5 in Lansing | Laina G. Stebbins

Updated, 8:35 p.m. 2/24/20 with comments from AG Nessel

In a tweet Monday evening, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg became the second Democratic presidential contender currently in the race to call for Enbridge’s controversial Line 5 oil pipeline to be decommissioned.

“With such a high risk of an oil spill under the Great Lakes, Michigan can’t afford to keep the Line 5 pipeline in operation. In every community, we need new clean energy solutions to meet our climate crisis,” Buttigieg wrote. The tweet links to a Michigan Radio article from earlier this month about Enbridge’s replacement of a Line 5 segment under the St. Clair River.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who dropped out of the race in August, was the first presidential contender to publicly oppose Line 5. Inslee called the Line 5 tunnel project “a clear and present threat” in early July 2019.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted his opposition to Line 5 later that month, on the nine-year anniversary of Enbridge’s Line 6B oil spill in the Kalamazoo River.

Attorney General Dana Nessel has been fighting the pipeline in court and praised Sanders earlier for his support. On Monday, she tweeted her thanks to Buttigieg, as well.*

Nessel told the Advance again Monday that she is not planning to endorse in the Democratic primary, reiterating that she will campaign “as hard as I can” for the party’s nominee.*

As the Advance has reported, the fierce Line 5 debate in Michigan (and ensuing legal battles) is just one example of oil pipelines becoming a more important national issue for the presidential cycle, as the debate on how to regulate fossil fuels in the era of climate change activism rages on.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.