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Wisconsin Tribe Votes Against Renewing Enbridge Pipline Agreements

A Native American tribe in Wisconsin has voted against renewing agreements allowing Enbridge Inc to use their land for a major crude oil pipeline, the latest sign of increasing opposition to North American energy infrastructure.

The Bad River Band decided not to renew easements on Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline last week because of concerns about the risk of oil spills, and called for the 64-year-old pipeline to be decommissioned and removed.

The move against Line 5 underlines how environmental and aboriginal resistance to energy infrastructure is evolving. Opponents are trying to block existing pipelines and expansions on brownfield sites like Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain project, as well as protesting new facilities.

"As many other communities have experienced, even a minor spill could prove to be disastrous for our people," Bad River Tribal Chairman Robert Blanchard said in a news release, adding the band would reach out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how to remove Line 5.

Calgary-based Enbridge said it had been discussing the easement renewals since before the agreements expired in 2013, and the pipeline had operated safely through the reservation since 1953.

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