Info on Line 5 available
To the Journal editor:
Line 5 pumps 23 million gallons of mostly Alberta oil products through the Straits each day as a high risk shortcut to get Canadian oil to the Canadian market and export. When it is pumping crude oil, 95 percent goes to Sarnia, Ontario with only about 5 percent going to the Detroit Marathon refinery.
When it pumps natural gas liquids, 98 percent goes to Sarnia with about 2 percent stripped out at Rapid River in the U.P. for propane use (the equivalent of about one rail car or three propane trucks a day). To further underscore its minimal impact on Michigan energy needs, the Dynamic Risk Alternative study of 2017 determined that a shutdown would mean temporary per gallon cost increases of mere pennies.
Now for the risks: A 2018 study by Michigan Tech indicated a worst case spill of 2.5 million gallons in the Straits. University of Michigan and MSU studies (Schwab and Richardson) indicate 700 miles of shoreline would be oiled; and the damage figure would be well above $6 billion.
A winter or rough weather clean-up effort would be almost useless. An April 1, 2018 anchor drag left dents and gouges in the twin pipelines. Line 5 has leaked 29 times, spilling over a million gallons of oil to date and is now approaching 66 years of age, despite a 50 year life expectancy. Now for all those alleged temporary tunnel jobs. Here’s the Enbridge comment of Aug. 4, 2017 in response to the Dynamic Risk study proposal for a tunnel or trench alternative for Line 5: “… the positive economic impact to Michigan are (sic) overstated. The type and complex nature of either alternative would likely drive the need for specific equipment and contractors likely not currently available in the State of Michigan.” [page 8, emphasis added]
There would be many problems with any proposed tunnel: Enbridge has a terrible record for safety and transparency, making it a terrible partner for any new venture. Enbridge wants the old pipelines now in the Straits to keep pumping during any tunnel build. The 640 miles of even higher risk, vintage land pipeline, crossing over 400 Michigan water bodies in the Great Lakes basin, are not being considered for replacement.
Details on these studies and facts are available at websites for Oil and Water Don’t Mix and For Love of Water.
LEONARD PAGE, vice chairman
Straits of Mackinac Alliance