The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan has written state officials requesting an independent review of a pipeline crossing the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Enbridge Line 5, operated by Enbridge Energy and in place since 1953, transports oil and natural gas between northern Wisconsin and Sarnia, Ontario.

Episcopal News Service reports:

The Diocese of Northern Michigan announced Dec. 7 it was asking Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to restrict the use of what is known as Line 5, a pipeline that carries oil and natural gas under the Straits of Mackinac, unless the state can guarantee there is no threat to public waters. The straits run between lower Michigan and the state’s Upper Peninsula and connect Lake Michigan with Lake Huron.

“Without water, we can’t survive. Without water there would be no life for any of God’s creatures,” said Northern Michigan Bishop Rayford Ray in an interview with Episcopal News Service. “As people of faith, we believe we are stewards of God’s creation, so we are called to be advocates.”

The diocese approved and Ray signed a resolution last month backing the recommendations of a state task force and pushing for an independent panel to verify Line 5 is safe.

The diocese’s questions about the pipeline follow successful action against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. On December 4 and after months of protests backed by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement that would have sent the pipeline under a reservoir used by the Standing Rock Sioux.

“After months of courageously and peacefully working to prevent the laying of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which posed potential danger to the water supply of the people of the Sioux Nation and transgressed their sacred burial grounds, the water protectors on Standing Rock have won a notable victory,” Curry said in a December 5 statement. He described the decision as a “cause for joyful celebration and thanks.”

Photo: MorgueFile/Jason Gillman