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OWDMTake Action Now

Michigan’s year-long study of Line 5 alternatives has been released. Now is the time to submit your comment calling for the only way to truly protect the Great Lakes from an oil spill: decommission the Enbridge Line 5 pipelines through the Straits of Mackinac.

Protect the Great Lakes from a Catastrophic Oil Spill

Deadline for comments is August 4, so please submit yours today via this online form in support of protecting the Great Lakes from a catastrophic oil spill.

To the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Agency for Energy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Office of the Attorney General:

I am writing to submit my official comment in response to the State of Michigan’s Line 5 alternatives analysis. This report was expressly commissioned for the overall purpose of “providing the State, Enbridge and the public with information that can be used to help guide decisions for the future of [Line 5 in the Straits].”

I am deeply disappointed in this analysis and this process riddled with conflict of interest. It lacks credibility because Dynamic Risk, a firm with ties to Enbridge, is its author. Even worse, it absurdly underestimates the impact of a spill and ignores a viable alternative to Line 5 – use of existing infrastructure. An expert review in December 2015 by advisors to a Great Lakes policy organization documented the practicality of this alternative.

Decommissioning Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac is the only alternative that will prevent an oil spill with catastrophic consequences for the Great Lakes and the State of Michigan. It is time for the state to stop delaying action with flawed studies, exercise its legal duty as public trustee, and shut down Line 5. The state should use that authority through enforcement of its easement, an agreement that Enbridge has consistently violated. 

Specifically, the draft report on alternatives to Line 5 in the Mackinac Straits:

  1. Fails to follow the recommendations and standards outlined in the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report and should be withdrawn.
  2. Neglects to provide the state with an independent, fair analysis of the alternatives to Line 5. This report is clearly biased toward allowing Line 5 to continue to operate and/or allowing Enbridge to build new oil infrastructure and further expand its operations. That bias grows out of past, and potentially future, business relationships between Enbridge and the report’s authors. Clearly, the authors are not “wholly independent from any influence by Enbridge,” a standard for establishing credibility in the report’s findings that is outlined in the Task Force Report.
  3. Ignores using existing pipeline infrastructure as an alternative to Line 5 in the Straits, which was one of the alternatives the state required Dynamic Risk to analyze, and leaving it out is in conflict with Task Force recommendation 3 (b). It is unacceptable that the contractor eliminated this alternative in the early stages of analysis, and this must be remedied in the final report.
  4. Does not provide a worst-case scenario spill and cost analysis, which was one of the main objectives of this report and was specifically required by the state in its request for proposals under Section II-B. Instead, Dynamic Risk uses assumptions of risk that are woefully inadequate and are not credible. It estimates that:
    • Only 20-miles of shoreline would be impacted by a spill. This is 3% of the 720-mile area the University of Michigan found vulnerable to a spill in its 2016 study.
    • An oil spill would cost $100 to $200 million when Enbridge’s cleanup costs of its Kalamazoo River Line 6B pipeline oil spill in 2010 cost more than $1.2 billion.
  5. Overestimates an impact to propane supply, greatly exceeding what independent experts have determined would be necessary to provide the Upper Peninsula’s Rapid River facility with an alternative supply. The flawed report finds that up to 35 railcars per week or 15 truckloads per day would be necessary, while another study found it would take only one railcar or 3 - 4 truckloads per day to replace Line 5 propane supply to the U.P.
  6. Shows unfair bias towards building a tunneled pipeline. The report estimates the cost of a tunnel much lower than other estimates for this type of infrastructure; it fails to consider the risk of a spill to the Great Lakes, rivers and streams from other portions of the 64-year-old pipeline if the Straits portion were rebuilt; and it fails to look at the other health and environmental consequences of allowing Enbridge to build a tunnel and further expand its transport of mostly Canadian oil through Michigan for export. Dynamic Risk has a preference for new pipelines, which was evident when the firm aggressively promoted building a tunnel in its proposal to do this report, and its analysis is deeply flawed.

The magnitude of the risk of a spill is too severe to allow Line 5 to continue to operate in the Great Lakes. Michigan should not put the Great Lakes, our economy, health, drinking water, fisheries, and way of life at risk from a catastrophic oil spill any longer.

I urge you to act as legal public trustees of our waters and bottomlands, enforce the ongoing easement violations, and begin the process of decommissioning Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac to protect the Great Lakes from a catastrophic oil spill. The State of Michigan has an independent legal duty to take this enforcement action based on Enbridge’s ongoing violations.

Please note that submitting your public comment here has nothing to do with the Line 5 ballot proposal that is being circulated.


Goal: 11,000 comments

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Showing 8825 reactions

  • signed 2017-07-31 22:03:33 -0400
    I am offering my official comment to urge the closure of Line 5. The risk of catastrophic failure on this aged pipeline is too great to consider its future use.
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:59:41 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:58:27 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:57:39 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:54:08 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:53:24 -0400
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-07-31 21:51:52 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:50:52 -0400
    So the right thing
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:50:01 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:49:04 -0400
    Mary Hinchman
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:47:46 -0400
    This is too crucial to take any chances. An oil spill in this critical location would ruin the Great Lakes and our entire state. Please, please don’t allow this to happen!
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:46:34 -0400
    Robert Courson
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:46:21 -0400
    The quality of water in our Great Lakes is not only an environmental and ethical issues, it is an economic issue for our Michigan residents who depend on the Great Lakes for their livelihood. Enron doesn’t live here, we do, and our input regarding this issue should matter.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-07-31 21:42:45 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:42:39 -0400
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:42:29 -0400
    Daniel Newell
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:41:12 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:40:41 -0400
    marilyn bardill
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:39:31 -0400
    Cashin Hunt
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:35:50 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:35:20 -0400
    Shut down Line 5! We love our Great Lakes!
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:35:12 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:32:22 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:27:50 -0400
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:25:46 -0400
    Our lakes are our biggest outdoor asset here in the midwest. Please don’t jeopordize their health- which is also our health.
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:23:12 -0400
    This destruction of our waterways has to stop! We already at great risk from what is brought in from the ships. We must pay attention to provide protection for our Great Lakes! Please!
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:19:07 -0400
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-07-31 21:15:16 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • signed 2017-07-31 21:15:07 -0400
  • signed via 2017-07-31 21:15:07 -0400

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