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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to follow the recommendations and standards outlined in the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report and should be withdrawn.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 7665 reactions

  • Bryan Heystek
    signed 2017-09-25 23:47:53 -0400
    I am an avid hiker and have lived in Michigan for most of my life. Going to Lake Michigan, hiking through the forest across streams and wild rivers, visiting our beautiful islands in the lakes have all significantly impacted the person I’ve become. Water is life. Not just to drink, but to reflect on and to enjoy all the beauty life has to offer through its many forms. An imminent rupture from this pipe and others like it would devastate the surrounding ecosystems and all the beauty we all enjoy in our lakes. The oil running through this pipe needs to stop flowing now, or the life existing around it will soon die along with its beauty.
  • Kelsey Foster-Goodrich
    signed 2017-09-22 12:49:06 -0400
  • Johanna Bogater
    signed 2017-09-22 07:16:24 -0400
    Please protect our water! It’s such a vital part of everything about the lives of Michiganders! Do something before it’s too late!
  • Sandi Disante
    signed 2017-09-20 19:20:55 -0400
    Time to retire the old line—let’s have a party and celebrate over 60 years. SHUT IT DOWN—before it’s too late. PLEASE!
  • Diane McKeel
    signed 2017-09-20 14:22:58 -0400
    The world is drying up. No rain, forest fires, This is not a MI. issue. 20% OF THE WORLDS FRESH WATER. What the hell is wrong with these greedy investors that they can even begin to wait for the inevitable disaster we are facing with this aging flawed pipeline under a lake with currents that could take down a city. Stop the damn pipeline, NOW.
  • Sandy Surface
    signed 2017-09-20 09:10:13 -0400
    This is appalling, and I’m embarrassed to say, I had no idea. I just posted the video to Facebook, in the hope that others who didn’t know will watch it and learn about the horrific danger(s) that Enbridge has put our beautiful state at risk for. American GREED. SHAME on you, ENBRIDGE. Sandy Surface
  • Audrey Keller
    signed 2017-09-19 16:24:12 -0400
  • Jessica McCallie Arquette
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-09-18 16:37:42 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • Jessica McCallie-Arquette
    signed 2017-09-18 16:36:54 -0400
  • Nancy Berg
    signed 2017-09-18 06:03:42 -0400
    I am one year older than the pipeline! I take care of myself…. I am in pretty good shape…. but I feel the added stress- I am certain the stress to that pipeline is even greater😣We can’t trust that it will hold and why are we risking our Fresh water supply so that one company can make a huge profit with NO benefits to the US. Shut it down!!!! Protect us and our water!
  • James A. Stover
    signed 2017-09-17 10:19:00 -0400
    I have sent letters,to my State Rep, called his office, a d he has never reponded to me. I am Up set to say the least.

    Mr McGregor why do you not respond?
  • Lafayette Cruise
    signed 2017-09-14 19:41:16 -0400
    The Western United States is experiences massive forest fires, the Gulf States are being pummeled by increasingly powerful hurricanes, but the Great Lakes don’t need to join the natural disaster club by allowing oil to spill into our source of fresh water. Especially in light of the deception about the quality of their protective coating on the part of Enbridge.
  • Juliana Ley
    signed 2017-09-13 21:22:34 -0400
  • Judy Hoffman
    signed 2017-09-13 19:17:48 -0400
    Judy Hoffman
  • Jennifer Klonsky
    signed 2017-09-13 18:30:22 -0400
  • Rinda West
    signed 2017-09-13 15:44:18 -0400
  • Nancy Backas
    signed 2017-09-13 15:30:02 -0400
    Let’s keep our Great Lakes clean!!
  • Taylor Wilcox
    signed 2017-09-12 14:22:50 -0400
    Taylor Wilcox
  • June Thaden
    signed 2017-09-12 09:50:06 -0400
    Decommission it NOW — violations of the easement and the quality of the Great Lakes water demands your action, A.G. Schuette! We absolutely must not continue to take a gamble with the water quality that our State depends on for tourism, drinking water and quality of life. NO pipeline is worth those risks.
  • Tania Hill (Werwega)
    signed via 2017-09-08 21:43:14 -0400
  • Kelli Cortopassi
    signed 2017-09-04 20:23:20 -0400
  • T Hammer
    signed 2017-09-04 07:20:08 -0400
  • Scott Janiski
    signed 2017-09-03 09:40:53 -0400
    Please, please take necessary action to implement regulation that monitors and forces oil pipeline companies to replace or fix aging pipelines as the voters and Michigan governing autauthorities see as safe and healthy for all of our beautiful state.
  • Adrienne Endres
    signed 2017-09-02 18:33:32 -0400
  • Stephanie Howard
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-09-02 15:06:38 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • Ken Faris
    signed 2017-08-31 22:27:26 -0400
    As I write this I am lying in bed just a few yards from the straits of mackinac. The fresh clear waves breaking on clean sandy beaches are my lullaby as they are for my family and many others here at wilderness state park. I hiked waugoschance point at sunrise this morning under eagles and osprey. My 7 year old daughter and I skipped stones in the surf at sunset. Last year we sat with her grandparents at this same spot and watched the northern lights dancing in the night sky. All of this goes away when the pipeline breaks as the pipeline in Marshall did 7 years pouring oil into our hometown of Battle Creek. Our clear fresh water and sandy beaches will never be he same if we do not shut down this pipeline. Enbridge will not protect this natural treasure. They will wait for it to break and then try to fix it. But an ecosystem is not a piece of pipe and our environment our family traditions and memories are more important than their profit margins. Let’s work together to make sure that our children can still skip pick clean smooth stones from sandy beaches and skip them across crystal clear waves with their children on this same spot and hike to the big cut at the end of the point under soaring osprey and eagles.
  • James Macaulay
    signed 2017-08-31 19:47:06 -0400
  • Vanessa Howell
    signed 2017-08-31 12:58:50 -0400
    Don’t risk our precious lakes!!!!
  • Michael Kearney
    signed 2017-08-31 09:36:25 -0400
  • jackie mason
    signed via 2017-08-28 14:21:39 -0400

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