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McBroom off base

To the Journal editor:

This is in response to an Op-Ed by state Sen. Ed McBroom that recently appeared in The Escanaba Daily Press. He claims Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 tunnel will make a safe pipeline safer.

The portion of the pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac is now 67 years old. Numerous areas of bare pipe have been discovered. The bed under the pipeline has been scoured and additional anchors have been put in place.

In 2018, a tug-barge dragged its anchor across the pipeline and dented it, narrowly avoiding a disaster. Among other impacts, the tunnel project would discharge dirty process water into the straits. Sen. McBroom fails to address any of these issues.

(Recently) Enbridge informed the state that a pipeline anchor support had sustained “significant damage”, and the line was shut down. The governor and attorney general have had to force the line shutdown. This is part of a pattern of practice.

The senator references the final report of the Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force and claims that recommendations for delivering propane to U.P. customers via rail would be less safe and would result in higher energy costs.

Mr. McBroom’s arguments seem to be more a defense of Enbridge’s existing infrastructure and future plans than an objective look at the analysis performed by the Task Force.

The UPETF did not discuss the safety and dangers of Line 5. It examined the resiliency of the U.P. propane supply through the lens of availability, disruption scenarios and alternative means of supply and transportation.

The senator also cites the jobs that building the tunnel would provide. Although temporary jobs would be provided, the tunnel would anchor Michigan and the U.P. to 20th century technology while newer energy technology and the jobs thus provided may pass us by.

(Recently) an Ingham County court judge granted the attorney general’s motion for a temporary restraining order, ordered Enbridge to halt the transport of all petroleum products by Line 5, and to disclose all information in its possession relating to the cause of the recent damage.

It shouldn’t take legal action to force Enbridge to cooperate. Especially in light of Enbridge’s very spotty safety record and their cavalier attitude, a thorough review and dialogue about the recommendations contained in the task force report are of paramount importance.

Rather than acting as a booster for Enbridge, we urge Sen. McBroom to engage in that dialogue.

JEFF TOWNER

Negaunee

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