The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, which puts on the popular Birkie ski and trail events in northwestern Wisconsin, said it cut ties with sponsor Enbridge Energy after members of the "Birkie community" scrutinized the relationship.

Enbridge Energy is working to complete a new $2.6 billion pipeline across northern Minnesota that is the focus of several court petitions to stop the work over environmental and treaty rights concerns.

In a statement on its website, the Birkie foundation said the decision also aligns with its environmental initiatives, which include less reliance on fossil fuels.

"We've taken pause to reconsider our relationship with Enbridge Energy and have chosen to dissolve our agreement," the statement said. "In hindsight, we realize that this association was perhaps not a clear pathway to engaging conversation in support of education, future change, and ultimately our greater Birkie Green initiatives. .... For that, we are sorry."

Enbridge's own goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions dovetailed with the Birkie's green initiatives, said a company spokesperson in an e-mail to the Star Tribune.

Enbridge said it plans to donate the Birkie sponsorship allotment to a different nonprofit organization serving the Hayward area.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the state's primary pipeline regulator, approved the Enbridge pipeline last February.