Cambensy spot on in Line 5 vote

To the Journal editor:

After reading state Rep. Sara Cambensy’s Op-Ed and some subsequent letters to the editor, I feel the need to write some basic points about Line 5 that may have been missed by those who oppose the tunnel and the line itself.

I am a former staffer for the representative, though my views are my own. I am also a lifelong Ishpeming resident and avid lover of our outdoors.

Line 5 is a Canadian line; that is a fact. However, stating Line 5 does not impact the people of Michigan is false. Large portions of the natural gas liquids that flow through the pipeline are utilized in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Natural gas is converted into propane in Rapid River, where it’s picked up and delivered by truck around the Central and Western U.P., providing a steady, local and reliable source of propane.

Much of the propane in the Eastern U.P. does in fact come from rail shipments, which unload in Kinchloe. There is no rail service to the Rapid River facility, and it would cost a great deal of money to build a new rail spur to service that facility.

That line would have to cross multiple rivers and streams, requiring new bridges to be built, marshlands that would be trampled upon, as well as easements from private property owners. People who argue that trucking all our propane from Wisconsin would maintain the same safety, reliability and price might be unfamiliar with our winters, the western U.P., or both. The fact is, there is no easy fix for Line 5 that wouldn’t put the reliable delivery of propane to the Upper Peninsula at risk.

What Rep. Cambensy did accomplish is an amendment to the bill, and she was in fact the only Democratic Legislator to pass one. Her amendment empowers Michigan Labor to have a seat at the table, which will protect our state in the long term. Michigan has some of the most highly skilled and highly qualified members of labor in this country, and they have a real stake in this project being done right.

I want to thank Rep. Cambensy for having the integrity to face this issue head-on despite intense political pressure. She was one of 14 Democratic legislators that voted yes on this bill, and she is the only one who has been ready to discuss this in public.