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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 1612 reactions

  • signed 2017-11-27 11:05:14 -0500
    It is very important to keep the water in the great lakes safe from contamination. The great lakes contain 20% of the worlds fresh water, and we cannot afford to endanger that water source. Shutdown Line 5 to protect the water for the people, the environment, and the health of future generations.
  • signed 2017-11-27 11:04:01 -0500
    The world cannot afford risking the Great Lakes. Line 5 is a risk to our lakes. Line 5 is old and even with routine maintenance, old things wear out. Take a look at Enbridge’s record with “accidental” spills.
  • signed 2017-11-27 11:04:01 -0500
    TheGreat lakes are natural treasures that we, the people of the surrounding states, not only revere for the view, but as a source for clean drinking water; a source that provides billions of dollars of income (and taxes) from fishing, lodging and dining recreation. We simply cannot any longer tolerate the risk of age and the very real potential of a catastrophic failure of Line 5.

    During the 2010 Chgo to Mac race while sailing over crystal clear deep blue waters through the Straits we ironically learned of the tragic Enbridge line rupture and spill in the Kalamazoo River. Spills can and do happen! To allow that perpetual risk to go on in Lakes Michigan and Huron is perpetuating a crime against nature. Shut Down Line 5 Now. Please! Before it’s too late!
  • signed 2017-11-27 11:03:53 -0500
    Absolutely INSANE to let this pipe line exist!! Would you let your your children/grandchildren play in a kitchen with a leaking gas stove valve and a can of kerosene on the counter? Where is your HEART, for God sake?
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-11-27 11:02:21 -0500
    JOIN ME and tell the State of Michigan the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is to SHUTDOWN LINE 5.
  • signed 2017-11-27 11:01:54 -0500
    What are you waiting for? Don’t wait till the wiest happens. Shut it down now! Clean water is vital for everyone’s livelihood.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-11-27 11:01:10 -0500
    JOIN ME and tell the State of Michigan the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is to SHUTDOWN LINE 5.
  • signed 2017-11-27 11:00:57 -0500
    The Great Lakes must be protected at all costs from greed and shortsightedness!!!!!!!!!
  • signed 2017-11-27 11:00:40 -0500
    Only a corporate serving fool would be willing to gamble the future of the Great Lakes and the northern Michigan economy on a beaten up, damaged old pipeline that has existed long past its prime. It is pretty clear our politicians owe their allegiance to corporate donors , not to their constituents. Shut down Line 5 now.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-11-27 10:58:12 -0500
    JOIN ME and tell the State of Michigan the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is to SHUTDOWN LINE 5.
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:57:51 -0500
    The Great Lakes are a natural wonder. Water is our most precious resource. Shut down the Line 5 pipeline now.
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:57:47 -0500
    The world cannot afford the loss of the Great Lakes. Line 5 threatens that loss every day it exists, and the company responsible for the line knows it. So do the so called inspectors that continue to allow it to exist.

    Millions of American taxpayers and voters know it, too. The secret is out. It’s time to take the money intended to keep that secret and put it to use to correct this heinous situation.
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:57:44 -0500
    It is essential to protect the Great Lakes!
  • signed via 2017-11-27 10:56:55 -0500
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:56:35 -0500
    dont Let corporate Lies for profit Destroy the Great Lakes and This counties largest source of fresh water!
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:55:28 -0500
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-11-27 10:55:06 -0500
    JOIN ME and tell the State of Michigan the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is to SHUTDOWN LINE 5.
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:55:01 -0500
  • signed via 2017-11-27 10:54:44 -0500
    Shut it down. It isn’t a matter of time before it gets worse than it is already. Is it worth not having water?
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:54:38 -0500
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:53:12 -0500
    No oil or other fossil fuel products should be transported under the Straits of Mackinac or anywhere else in the Great Lakes for that matter. The damages to the environment as well as the negative economic impact that would follow a spill are too great to allow. SHUTDOWN LINE 5!
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:51:57 -0500
    The question here is whether government supports not only the people of this state and also the welfare of the state itself, both geographically and economically , or whether it supports Big Oil. The people are watching. If a mistake is made to NOT shut down Line 5 and an ensuing disaster destroys one of the greatest natural wonders on the planet, there will be hell to pay. There shouldn’t even be a debate as to what must be done – Line 5 must be shut down and an alternate line can be run around Lake Huron to the southern depot. Sensibility must trump greed.
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:50:46 -0500
    The risk of an oil spill in this pristine lake system is too great! I am in favor of shutting down line 5 now. If oil were transported by truck, many more jobs would be created and sustained.
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:50:27 -0500
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-11-27 10:49:14 -0500
    JOIN ME and tell the State of Michigan the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is to SHUTDOWN LINE 5.
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:48:50 -0500
    Stop this insanity. This could be a worse disaster than Flint an.. d even more expensive and harmful to the entire state. Shut down line 5..
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:48:47 -0500
    We need to protect our fragile environment from a process we know has significant chances of leaking oil into vast sources of water. It’s a question of when, not if it will leak harming flora and fauna and contaminating water sources we utilize.

    Put the environment above greedy profit.
  • signed 2017-11-27 10:48:44 -0500
    It is time to shut down line 5 permanently. The risks to the environment simply outweigh any economic benefit this line brings to the Great Lake States and Canada.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2017-11-27 10:48:44 -0500
    JOIN ME and tell the State of Michigan the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is to SHUTDOWN LINE 5.
  • @Christytwit tweeted link to this page. 2017-11-27 10:48:41 -0500
    JOIN ME and tell the State of Michigan the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is to SHUTDOWN LINE 5. http://www.oilandwaterdontmix.org/submit_your_line_5_comment?recruiter_id=53605

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