Like clean drinking water?

Wise old Ben Franklin's maxim, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is especially prescient when it comes to protecting a natural resource such as the Great Lakes. 

In front of a standing room only crowd at Patagonia Chicago on February 8th, film maker/journalist and Wisconsin native, Spencer Chumbley screened his documentary, Oil And Water Don't Mix. The film sheds light on Line 5, an aging pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac, and Enbridge, a Canadian oil company that owns and operates the pipeline. Enbridge has a dubious environmental track record, being responsible for 1,068 oil spills between 1999 and 2013 alone. Chief among them is largest land based oil spill in U.S. history – the 2010 disaster that gushed nearly one million gallons of heavy crude oil into the Kalamazoo River. Line 5, which pumps both natural gas and nearly 23 million gallons of oil under the heart of the Great Lakes daily, was originally designed for a 50 year lifespan. It is now into its 62nd year of operation. Even worse, it is 15 years older than the pipeline that burst into the Kalamazoo River. 

Line 5 runs on an easement that is leased to Enbridge by the State of Michigan. Out of the jurisdiction of Canadian authorities, and not at the top of the EPA's priority list, Line 5 is a potential major environmental catastrophe. When it leaks the "ounce of prevention" of not shutting it down now will be measured in gallons of oil by the hundreds of thousands. 

Also occurring on Feb. 8th, in the wake of the mishandling of the Flint, MI water crisis, a petition to recall Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was approved by the Board of State Canvassers. The time to act is now. We have the ear of Gov. Snyder as water is a hot button topic. Rest assured, Surfrider Chicago, along with other Great Lakes chapters, are putting this issue on their collective front burner. To speak up, get involved and learn more on this pressing issue, visit

- G. Princen