Not only would an oil spill in the Straits ruin a beloved tourist destination, it would soil our pristine Great Lakes, home to 20% of the world's freshwater. That's something we simply can't afford.
Samantha Lachman of the Huffington Post reports
Environmental activists say Michigan’s tourism slogan -- “Pure Michigan” -- may no longer be accurate unless the state takes stronger action to prevent a 62-year-old oil pipeline from rupturing in a sensitive waterway.
The pipeline, called Line 5, is owned by the Canadian energy company Enbridge, carrying nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas liquids every day. It passes between the state’s upper and lower peninsulas, along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. East of the pipeline is the iconic Mackinac Bridge, depicted on many of the state’s license plates, and Mackinac Island, an historic, no-cars resort area.
A coalition of local businesses, municipalities, Native American tribes and environmental and conservation advocates -- the “Oil and Water Don’t Mix” coalition -- are concerned that the straits’ strong currents and corrosion-causing forces could cause the pipeline to rupture, creating a catastrophic oil spill that would spread into the Great Lakes, which contain a fifth of the world’s fresh surface water.