Great Lakes Sturgeons Vs. Enbridge Oilers: Game Day Report Back


On Monday, March 13th more than 250 people from the Great Lakes Basin convened in Lansing, Mi to support the Great Lakes and demand the shut down of Enbridge Line 5. Enbridge presented information about the anti-corrosive coating that is missing in 18 segments of the twin pipes in the Straits of Mackinaw- this information defined the day.

Prior to the meeting, the Great Lakes Sturgeons Cheer Team and Color Guard held a pep rally in support of the Great Lakes as they endure these games being played by Attorney General Bill Schuette and Governor Rick Snyder. Sturgeons fans rallied with chants, cheers, and a special appearance by the Sturgeon General. A game day program was distributed, feel free to access it here- sturgeon v oilers(1)

Enbridge Oilers mascot Charlie “The Oil” Sheen was not present, but offers these words:

“I’m an Oilers fan, man- show me some love! I poisoned the rivers and I killed the dove! If we can kill all existence, there can be no more resistance!”

The pep rally became excited and further energized when it saw the arrival of a full charter bus and two large vans organized by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa.

Photo Credit: Valerie Jean

It was a sold out game with standing room only when The Great Lakes Sturgeons went head to head against rival Enbridge Oilers at the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) meeting. During the Oilers presentation, aggressive heckling ensued. Oilers forward Kurt Barenieki could be seen physically shaking while giving Enbridge’s presentation. Kurt was continuously heckled, called out, and fact checked during his presentation. “Remember the Kalamazoo” “Shut Down Line 5” and other lines echoed off of the picture frames containing images of the Great Lakes in the meeting room.

Score: Sturgeons- 1 Oilers- 0.

During this play, a flag was thrown by the board’s co-chair Valerie Brader. The rowdy crowd was shooshed by state officials and fellow attendees alike. This power play gave Barenieki his platform and he was able to finish his presentation. After more heckling and questions from the board, Barenieki headed back to the bench.

Score: Sturgeons- 1  Oilers- 1.

Fred Harrington and his Grandson prepare to address the board.

The public comment period was extended for an extra hour due to the high volume of “public participants”. In all, 260 public comments were submitted on site along with more than two hours of verbal comments- during which Sturgeon fans became rowdier when a man and his grandson showed the officials what an oil spill would look like. The PSAB had only scheduled 30 minutes for public participation, but due to pressure before and during the meeting, conceded to running the meeting late. The meeting ended as rowdy as it began, resulting in  Enbridge Oilers representatives and Public Relations unable to conduct interviews with the press as they were “escorted out of the back door by security”.

Final Score: Sturgeons-2 Oilers- 1

The Sturgeons had a great victory today, but the Oilers domination continues. The 64 year old pipeline could burst any day due to a combination of corrosion, strong currents in the Straits, and general negligence on Enbridge’s behalf.

Although the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board has no authority to shut down Line 5, and is very much a stall and delay strategy in the games being played by Rick Snyder and Bill Schuette, these meetings expose Enbridge’s enormous threat to the ecology of the Great Lakes. Enbridge will be met with die hard Sturgeon fans at the next board meeting this June when the PSAB is expected to give it’s opinion of Line 5. In the mean time, Bill Schuette and Rick Snyder can expect to hear from Sturgeon fans as they try to recruit the state officials as enforcers. If this recruitment campaign fails- the two power brokers, along with Enbridge, will be in for a long hot summer.




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