Shut down Line 5
To the Journal editor:
Various professional studies have detailed the huge risk Michigan has assumed for years in permitting Line 5 to operate: a worst-case spill of 2.5 million gallons in the Straits of Mackinac, over 700 miles of shoreline oiled, damages of $6.3 billion (almost $5 billion alone from lost tourism jobs).
There have been 33 spills totalling more than a million gallons from Line 5.
Studies (London Economics International and Dynamic Risk) have also concluded that a Line 5 shutdown would trigger retail price increase of only pennies a gallon for Michiganders using propane and gasoline.
Last year’s tunnel law and agreements provided that the pipelines would continue to pump in the open water until the tunnel was completed. Last June, Gov. Whitmer told Enbridge that the high-risk twin pipelines had to stop pumping in the open waters by June 2021. Enbridge then sued the state to keep the twin pipelines pumping in the open waters.
In 2018, Enbridge projected a ten-year tunnel project, not including delays for technical problems and multi-year permitting challenges. Nor does the tunnel project do anything about replacing the other 640 miles of thinner pipeline running through our Great Lakes basin.
An indefinite tunnel build, coupled with the failure to replace the rest of the vintage 66-year-old line, just doesn’t address the imminent risk of a devastating oil spill. No one can stop an anchor drop in a navigation emergency.
Most oil spill victims would be left holding the bag in the event the two U.S. Enbridge subsidiaries who own Line 5 declare bankruptcy after a spill. While it gets the income of about $1.5 million a day, the Canadian parent is not under any legally enforceable obligation to pay Line 5 spill damages.
Michigan has no duty to serve as a permanent high-risk shortcut for supplying Canadian oil to Sarnia. There goes the bogeyman of thousands of trucks going across Michigan.
Whitmer has also established the U.P. Energy Task Force to make recommendations in March 2020 to establish energy alternatives at reasonable cost for Yoopers.
Pipelines may be the safest way to move oil but pipelines anywhere near the Great Lakes are the epitome of stupidity and shortsighted greed. Protecting the Great Lakes means shutting down the twin pipelines ASAP.
Why accept any risk to our greatest natural treasure for any alleged Michigan benefits?
LEONARD PAGE, vice chairman
Straits of Mackinac Alliance