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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to follow the recommendations and standards outlined in the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report and should be withdrawn.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.


Help Reach the Next Goal: 11,000 comments

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Showing 7655 reactions

  • Aaron Washick
    signed 2022-03-10 15:28:17 -0500
  • Annalise Dobbelstein
    signed 2022-03-09 13:11:03 -0500
  • Gabrielle Chapin
    signed 2022-03-09 12:57:19 -0500
    It’s high time we stopped using fossil fuels and transitioned to more clean energy. I realize that takes time and money and it isn’t easy, but if we don’t have clean water we really won’t have a choice. Clean energy can be just as profitable as fossil fuels if the right infrastructure is in place, not to mention there are incentive programs for going sustainable. It’s also not cool to cut through native lands whose very livelihoods depend on that water. I say we shut down pipeline 5.
  • Jodi Escalante
    signed 2021-02-09 10:40:09 -0500
    As a homeowner on Lake Michigan I have seen first hand over the past 50 years what corporations have done to the great lakes. A oil spill from an aging pipeline would be a complete disaster. And while you take all your oil riches it would be the taxpayers and the property owners who pay for the damage. Decommission this NOW.
  • April Calkovsky
    signed 2019-03-19 20:45:36 -0400
    Please decommission the Enbridge lines. We must protect the Great Lakes from oil damage. We need to supply Flint with safe water from Lake Huron!
  • Susan Bennett
    signed 2018-12-17 23:09:31 -0500
    With global warming, the rest of America is going to be in serious need of fresh clean water. Line 5 would prove disastrous when it fails. And IT WILL FAIL.
  • Anne Birkam
    @abirkam tweeted link to this page. 2018-12-17 15:18:48 -0500
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5. https://www.oilandwaterdontmix.org/comment_to_shutdown_old?recruiter_id=52932
  • Anne Birkam
    signed 2018-12-17 15:18:32 -0500
    “Water, water, every where

    Nor any drop to drink” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    A catastrophe with this old, antiquated pipeline supporting an industry that is on its last leg -well, may I suggest that this is a legacy you do not want. Please, please, for the sake of our children and future generations do not let this happen!
  • Karen Cameron
    signed 2018-12-16 21:19:31 -0500
  • Jeanne Stoppels
    signed via 2018-07-31 16:10:49 -0400
    The state of Michigan must shut Line 5 down immediately to protect our natural resources. A catastrophic oil spill would impact wildlife, tourism, commerce and drinking water for a very long time. Stop a Canadian oil company from polluting our environment and causing major losses to Michigan’s economy.
  • Nathan Fry
    signed 2017-11-25 16:23:26 -0500
  • Danielle Fry
    signed 2017-11-25 16:19:43 -0500
  • Brett Maniscalco
    signed 2017-11-22 17:39:15 -0500
    The Kalamazoo spill was the largest inland oil spill in US history. The pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac is missing it’s protective coating in several places.

    There have been thousands of pipeline leaks in the last decade.

    This needs to stop, now. There are many alternative energy sources, there is a finite amount of fresh water.
  • Awannah Buelterman
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-11-22 10:02:32 -0500
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • Awannah Buelterman
    signed 2017-11-22 10:01:48 -0500
    Every drop, every gallon destroys life.
  • Kyle Panter
    signed 2017-11-20 09:29:05 -0500
    These lakes that surround our great state are a treasure. There is no reason what so ever to leaving this pipeline operating. Every week, as of late, I hear about more issues with the Line 5 Pipe and how the coating is missing or deteriorating. It is unacceptable to allow it to continue to be use. Let it be known that the people of Michigan will not accept any pipeline to go over, under, or in OUR Great Lakes. They are not the property of the representatives or Governor or big Oil companies. Shut It Down! 👇
  • Joel Mann
    signed 2017-11-19 20:06:32 -0500
  • Will Anderson
    signed 2017-11-18 16:12:46 -0500
  • Judith Maxwell
    signed via 2017-11-17 18:01:46 -0500
  • Robert Cushing
    signed 2017-11-17 12:45:51 -0500
    Criminal liability for regulators if they don’t act and a leak occurs?
  • Jennifer Bair
    signed 2017-11-17 01:00:34 -0500
  • Emiley Logan
    signed 2017-11-16 01:10:01 -0500
  • Lu Thrushman
    signed 2017-11-15 06:31:53 -0500
    I have a business on Lake Huron, we need this pipeline shut down the thumb will never recover from a spill!
  • scott dunn
    signed 2017-11-13 20:44:11 -0500
    Is the Governor going to wait until oil is spilled into these beautiful lakes to do something about it? What a shame to think oil is more important then saving our Great Lakes.
  • scott dunn
    followed this page 2017-11-13 20:43:57 -0500
  • Sharon Rickard
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-11-08 18:00:15 -0500
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • Sharon Rickard
    signed 2017-11-08 17:59:28 -0500
    Enough studying! We need to take action NOW before it’s too late. This is really a no- brainer, unless, of course, our politicians feel corporations and short term profits are more important. Do the right thing!
  • Karen Toledo
    signed 2017-11-06 12:04:44 -0500
    karen toledo
  • Thomas Cronan
    signed 2017-11-06 07:34:18 -0500
    Shut it down!!! This is an opportunity to recover from other poor decisions MDEQ were involved i.e. Flint water and Line rupture in Kalamazoo River. To leave this old line under the Straits of Mackinac is irresponsible. From the Governor down they all must be chummy with Enbridge. If the line ruptures and destroys this waterway and the communities surrounding it there should be criminal charges brought against our state decision makers. All citizens in the Straits of Mackinac should get involved now and work tirelessly to shut it down or we will all be working tirelessly to restore our Straits area. If it ruptures it will be a tragedy and all will pull together to clean up the mess. Let’s try to convince our elected officials to oppose Line 5 publicly or look for a new job. Vote, comment, share through local media. Small towns are being bought off by Enbridge through grants etc. If your local officials have not come out against Enbridge vote them out of office. Election day is tomorrow.
  • Lori Kay Bonifas
    signed 2017-11-05 11:07:51 -0500
    I live on Lake Huron and am very concerned about the devastation a pipe full of oil could break would do. Please shut this down before it’s too late!

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