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follow the recommendations and standards outlined in the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report and should be withdrawn.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

  • Kelsey Wright
    signed via 2017-08-07 13:50:52 -0400
  • Janet Cannon
    signed 2017-08-07 13:21:45 -0400
    Too much is at stake for everyone to continue this risky pipeline. Even for the company it is unsound practice.
  • Kyra Poehlman
    signed 2017-08-07 12:46:41 -0400
  • Leicia Romubio
    signed 2017-08-07 11:48:14 -0400
    Leicia Romubio
  • Kimberly Lovelace
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-08-07 11:04:31 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • Kimberly Lovelace
    signed via 2017-08-07 11:03:57 -0400
  • Lynn Bekkala
    signed 2017-08-07 09:55:26 -0400
  • Rachel Tapp
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-08-07 09:23:19 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • Rachel Tapp
    signed via 2017-08-07 09:22:57 -0400
    Please discontinue use of line 5. You are responsible for the spill in Battle Creek due to lack of line maintenance, and all you need to do here is maintain the line – which you did not. You now have a chance to correct the error of your ways by building a new pipeline and re-directing line 5 through that space while you tear out line 5. Stop line five before you generate the “new largest inland oil spill”. You don’t want to be known as the company that ruined the great lakes!!!
  • Sandra Simmons
    signed 2017-08-07 09:05:09 -0400
    It is evident to all, except the writers of the biased report who have business dealings with Enbridge, that a leak in the old pipeline WILL occur and damage a large portion of the MI coastline which will impact large populations bases that draw their water supply from Lake Huron. Then not only will the state have long term devastating coastal damage but millions of residents without a usable water supply. It would be overt, evident lack of concern for the residents by the state to sanction continued use of this pipeline given the past ‘mishaps’ this supplier has had. Following the spill which will occur it will be a challenge for the state to continuing to use the PURE MICHIGAN slogan. They can then say ,come and see the largest oil spill in one of Michigan’s Great Lakes’ that used to be PURE. Once again greed and political corruption weighs heavily on our state decision makers.
  • Daniel Miller
    signed 2017-08-07 08:31:57 -0400
  • Edward Van Valkinburg
    signed 2017-08-07 08:31:35 -0400
    All of mankind and nature depend on clean Water.
  • Janine Ody
    signed 2017-08-07 08:10:19 -0400
  • Jane Packard
    signed 2017-08-07 07:45:52 -0400
    ANY risk of polluting our Great Lakes is too great a risk to take. Clean water is a most precious resource, a resource we all need in order to survive. We, as a society, know better. Please do not be swayed by grafts, charts and promises of “complete safety” by Enbridge. They are merely a huge corporation looking to increase their profits in any way possible and we all know this to be the case. Do not let corporate greed trump our human right to clean water. We can survive without oil but we absolutely cannot survive without clean water.
  • L Goldman
    signed via 2017-08-07 07:24:05 -0400
    Are we stupid just waiting for a catastrophe?
  • Kristine Melendez
    signed via 2017-08-06 22:45:00 -0400
  • Judy Barker
    signed via 2017-08-06 22:12:31 -0400
    Shut it down! Now!
  • Kim Reilly
    signed via 2017-08-06 21:38:53 -0400
    Our beautiful Great Lakes are the largest contiguous body of fresh water in the world. They are a valuable resource and the “gold” of tomorrow. As stewards of this beautiful earth, it is our God given responsibility and our right to protect this beautiful, life giving gift that has been entrusted to us, from all possible and foreseeable harm. We humbly ask that our Governing bodies fulfill their responsibility to protect the citizens and public lands in all respects, and most urgently by shutting down Line 5 immediately. The public has entrusted this responsibility to you, by electing you to represent their welfare and best interests, and YOU have accepted this responsibility by accepting your office for the people. Please speak up NOW to fulfill that responsibility and shut down Line 5 to protect our waters for present and future citizens. Thank you.
  • Helene Kokesh
    signed via 2017-08-06 21:22:34 -0400
  • Rex Flodstrom
    signed 2017-08-06 20:56:41 -0400
    A catastrophic oil spill on the Great Lakes that left people without drinking water could create a Mad Max type of situation.
  • Lyndsey Hof
    signed via 2017-08-06 20:28:54 -0400
  • Angela Woods
    signed 2017-08-06 20:23:32 -0400
    The lesson of the Flint water crisis is that there is nothing more important than the protection of the fresh water supply in Michigan. There is not business interest that trumps the care and safety of the water that surrounds us. I cannot even imagine what a tragedy this would be if there was an oil spill in one of the big lakes.
  • Rebecca J Smith-Miles
    signed 2017-08-06 19:44:39 -0400
    Please think about what would happen if a spill occurred in one of the Great Lakes. Our water would no longer be potable. By the time the spill is repaired, there would be significant damage done. No- we cannot afford to have our water polluted with anything. We are the one area in the USA that has such a large amount of fresh water and we cannot afford to damage our supply.
  • Kertis Lytle
    signed via 2017-08-06 19:39:04 -0400
  • Lisa Gowins
    signed via 2017-08-06 19:26:55 -0400
    We cannot let this happen for the future of Our family’s. We must protect the Great Lakes. Many of these lands are State Parks. The water must be left alone.
  • Lindday Farrell
    signed via 2017-08-06 19:18:37 -0400
  • Ana Vidal
    signed via 2017-08-06 18:50:15 -0400
  • Curt Schreiber
    signed 2017-08-06 18:28:37 -0400
    It’s a national park… need to say more?
  • James Lueck
    signed 2017-08-06 17:35:58 -0400
  • Whitney Broadbent
    signed via 2017-08-06 17:02:25 -0400

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