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Last June, the preliminary Line 5 Alternatives Study was released, and more than 23,000 people submitted their comment calling for the shutdown of Line 5 as the only alternative that will truly protect the Great Lakes from an oil spill. The revised and final Alternatives Study has just been released, which has triggered a second comment period that is now open.

Prevent a Catastrophic Great Lakes Oil Spill

The deadline for public comments is December 19, 2017, so please sign on and submit your comment today via this online form. Let's prevent a devastating oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac.

To the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Agency for Energy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Governor, Michigan Attorney General, and Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board:

I am writing to submit my official comment in response to the State of Michigan’s Line 5 final alternatives analysis dated October 26 and released on November 20. I am deeply disappointed in this final analysis. A draft alternatives report released in June was riddled with errors and omissions, and the final report contains most of the same failures.

This report fails to meet its overall purpose of “providing the State of Michigan and other interested parties with an independent, comprehensive analysis of alternatives to the existing Straits Pipelines, and the extent to which each alternative promotes the public health, safety, and welfare and protects the public trust resources of the Great Lakes.”

It lacks credibility because its author is Dynamic Risk, a firm with ties to Enbridge, the Canadian energy transport company that owns Line 5. Even worse, it absurdly underestimates the impact of a spill and ignores a viable alternative to Line 5 – use of existing infrastructure. An independent expert review in December 2015 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. Moreover, this final alternative report affirms that decommissioning is a feasible option with zero risks to the Great Lakes and minimal economic impacts to Michigan customers (e.g., two cents more at the gas pump and roughly 10 to 25 cents more for propane in the Upper Peninsula). 
It is time for the state to reject the flawed study, exercise its affirmative legal duty as public trustee of the Great Lakes and bottomlands, and shut down Line 5. The state should use that authority to revoke the 1953 easement agreement that Enbridge has consistently violated.

The risk of a spill is too great to allow Line 5 to continue to operate in the Great Lakes. Our state government 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. In fact, on November 16, the Coast Guard Coast commandant testified again to Congress that his agency is not prepared to clean up a large-scale pipeline oil spill in the Great Lakes.

I urge you to act as public trustees of our waters and bottomlands, enforce the easement in light of Enbridge’s ongoing 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 a legal duty to take this enforcement action. Enbridge’s ongoing violations cannot be remedied. It is time for the state to act decisively and with urgency.

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, which resulted from a process created by the governor and co-chaired by the attorney general, and therefore cannot be used by the State of Michigan “in making decisions about the future of the Straits Pipelines.”
  2. Neglects to provide the state with an independent, fair analysis of the alternatives to Line 5 as required by the Task Force Report. This final report remains biased toward allowing Line 5 to continue to operate and/or allowing Enbridge to build new oil infrastructure in the Straits of Mackinac and further expand its operations. That bias grows out of past, and potentially future, business relationships between Enbridge and the report’s authors.
  3. Fails to analyze existing pipeline infrastructure as an alternative to Line 5 in the Straits, which the state required Dynamic Risk to analyze, and leaving it out conflicts with Task Force recommendation 3 (b). It is unacceptable that the contractor eliminated this alternative without any analysis. The 1953 easement granted with strict conditions by the state to Enbridge does not guarantee transport of 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and natural gas liquids. In fact, the 1953 MPSC Order states 300,000 bpd, which means Enbridge is currently operating Line 5 at 80 percent over design capacity. 
  4. Fails to analyze new evidence disclosed by Enbridge affecting the pipeline’s integrity, including external corrosion, 48 bare metal spots caused by the installation of screw anchors, compromised cathodic protection, and historic excessive pipeline spans greater than the 75-feet limit (including a 286-foot span that was unsupported for years), as required by the legal operating agreement with the State of Michigan. Dynamic Risk’s rationale, in part, is that "it would be inappropriate to speculate on any of the above aspects of the coating condition."
  5. Fails to consider tribal sovereign treaty rights and feedback on the basis that Dynamic Risk was not a party to tribal and state consultations, which is an unacceptable dismissal of input by a key stakeholder. 
  6. Grossly underestimates the total economic spill costs at between $147 million and $310 million, when Enbridge’s cleanup costs of its 2010 Line 6B pipeline oil spill along a 40-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River cost more than $1.2 billion.
  7. 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 the Line 5 propane supply to the U.P.
  8. Continues to show an unfair bias towards building a tunneled pipeline in the Mackinac Straits. The report estimates a much lower cost for a tunnel 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. Dynamic Risk prefers 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.


Goal: 2,000 comments

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Showing 1547 reactions

  • signed 2017-12-06 09:28:15 -0500
    Shut down line 5 is thebbonlyb solution.
  • signed 2017-12-06 09:13:18 -0500
    Tourism and the exploration of Michigan’s natural beauty — including and especially the Great Lakes — is a far bigger, better “industry” than oil. If you do this proposed idiocy, and you will see what happens to Michigan’s economy when the inevitable spill happens — and IT WILL! (Always does . . .). No one wants to swim and fish in an oil slick. I am flabbergasted at the stupidity and short-sightedness of Governor Snyder and his oily cronies.
  • signed 2017-12-06 08:30:39 -0500
    The state government needs to stop the oil industry from destroying the Great Lakes. The industrial and corporate interest only look at their bottom line. Our elected officials are supposed look out for their constituents, we the people. The only way to stop the insanity in government is at the ballot box. Do not forget where Schutte stands now when he runs for governor in 2018.
  • signed 2017-12-06 07:55:41 -0500
    Enbridge is responsible for the Kalamazoo River spill in 2010. 1 million gallons of heavy crude ended up closing the River, putting wildlife and residents in peril and restricting use of the river for years.
  • signed 2017-12-06 00:45:43 -0500
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-12-05 23:02:42 -0500
    JOIN ME and tell the State of Michigan the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is to SHUTDOWN LINE 5.
  • signed 2017-12-05 23:01:49 -0500
    Decommission LIne 5.Our Great Lakes are too precious a resource to risk. We love our Great Lakes. Never take them for granted. Never use them for environmentally dangerous profit. Stop this pipeline!!
  • signed 2017-12-05 22:29:43 -0500
    The risk/benefit ratio to the economy and ecology of our Great Lakes is too high. In the event of a spill, the damage would be such that we will NEVER again boast Pure Michigan. Michigan is putting our MOST valuable resource at risk with very little benefit to our state. It is time to decommission Line 5, permanently.
  • signed 2017-12-05 21:05:14 -0500
  • signed 2017-12-05 20:59:21 -0500
    Please shut down Line 5. We cannot afford to continue to put the Great Lakes in jeopardy of fossil fuel spillage. The consequences would be disastrous. The people of Michigan deserve to have a government that ensures the safety of our Great Lakes which is our most precious resource.
  • signed 2017-12-05 19:38:02 -0500
    I live near the Kalamazoo River section that was part of the massive oil spill in 2010. A spill in the Great Lakes will be far worse. It is not worth the risk of contaminating the largest fresh water lake system in the world.
  • signed 2017-12-05 19:31:01 -0500
  • signed 2017-12-05 19:26:45 -0500
  • signed 2017-12-05 19:15:15 -0500
    We need to protect our sacred Great Lakes, the only largest resource of freshwater we have to the entire nation. If it is destroyed, what do we have left?
  • signed via 2017-12-05 18:48:21 -0500
  • signed 2017-12-05 17:26:11 -0500
    I live near the Mackinac Straits. I am a boating enthusiast and a sport fisherman. Born in Detroit, I moved back to Michigan because of the beauty and spirit of the Great Lakes. The value of the Lakes, both aesthetic and economic, and the risk of irreparable damage to the livelihood of Michiganders far exceeds the marginal profits benefiting only a few that don’t even reside here.

    In a world where clean fresh water is rapidly becoming a scarce commodity, you wouldn’t even consider siphoning off the Lakes to depletion. Likewise, you shouldn’t even consider risking this invaluable, irreplaceable resource. PROTECT OUR LAKES! It’s our life source. It’s our identity. It’s our responsibility. It’s your job!
  • signed 2017-12-05 17:11:38 -0500
    Oil and water do not mix, shut down Line 5.
  • signed 2017-12-05 16:53:29 -0500
  • signed 2017-12-05 16:46:16 -0500
    Decommission line 5 entirely. Force Enbridge to remove it. Get it out of our lakes and off of our land.

    The condition of the line from beginning to end tells you everything you need to know about the priorities that drive Enbridge. Maintenance and environmental protection are only important to them to the degree that government forces those issues. Spills are just numbers to them, but they are life and death to this state.

    If you want Michigan to remain economically viable in the coming decades, then we absolutely MUST protect our fresh water reserves. There’s no coming back from a serious spill, and a serious spill is inevitable given the market forces that drive corporate decision making processes.

    Dead lakes mean a dead economy. It’s that simple.
  • signed 2017-12-05 16:44:41 -0500
  • signed 2017-12-05 16:33:03 -0500
  • signed 2017-12-05 15:55:57 -0500
  • signed 2017-12-05 15:38:01 -0500
    Francine L Dolins
  • signed 2017-12-05 15:19:24 -0500
    Please decommission Line 5! Do the right thing! Clean water is life sustaining for all of U.S.!
  • signed 2017-12-05 14:24:41 -0500
    Jeanine soper
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-12-05 14:21:46 -0500
    JOIN ME and tell the State of Michigan the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is to SHUTDOWN LINE 5.
  • signed 2017-12-05 14:21:28 -0500
    Line 5 is for Canada and enbridge not Michigan citizens…..closed linev5 the great lakes are more important than enbridge profits….shame on synder for his back room deal
  • signed via 2017-12-05 13:31:44 -0500
    Just SHUT it down, protect our Great Lakes and not your wallet. I get so tired of no one listening to what the people want. Just do what is right and shut the darn thing down.
  • signed 2017-12-05 13:26:03 -0500
    It is time to shut down Line 5 and protect our precious Great Lakes. There are other existing pipe lines that can be used without endangering the pure clean water of the Great Lakes. Water is becoming more precious in this world and must be protected from oil spills. Public health and safety are paramount.


    Theresa Townley
  • signed via 2017-12-05 13:22:54 -0500
    Shut down Line 5!

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