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follow the recommendations and standards outlined in the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report and should be withdrawn.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


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Showing 7665 reactions

  • Freda St John
    signed via 2017-08-06 08:38:32 -0400
    PLease, please shut down this pipeline BEFORE something bad happens! LOok at the Kalamazoo travesty to see a fraction of what it will be like when, not if, the pipeline fails in any way! PLease be proactive for a change!!!
  • Lois & Tom Marshall
    signed 2017-08-06 08:02:26 -0400
    Save the best part about living in Michigan, our Great Lakes. Shut down the pipeline now.
  • Janet Kahan
    signed via 2017-08-06 07:49:46 -0400
  • Emilie Baker
    signed 2017-08-06 07:29:38 -0400
  • Dwight Sanders
    signed 2017-08-06 06:55:54 -0400
  • Kristen Berlacher
    signed via 2017-08-06 06:43:29 -0400
  • Fiona Laveau
    signed via 2017-08-06 01:10:31 -0400
  • Jenna Gray-Shomler
    signed via 2017-08-06 00:16:03 -0400
  • Taresah Youngman
    signed via 2017-08-05 23:21:55 -0400
  • Sean van Benschoten
    signed 2017-08-05 22:38:17 -0400
    Sean van Benschoten
  • Amy Murphy
    signed via 2017-08-05 22:34:11 -0400
  • Maura Cravey
    signed 2017-08-05 21:34:56 -0400
    I own property on Lake Michigan where I enjoy its pristine beauty. Protect my lake
  • Elizabeth Snyder
    signed via 2017-08-05 21:10:09 -0400
  • Lesley Sly
    signed via 2017-08-05 20:44:31 -0400
  • Alan Savoie
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-08-05 20:43:47 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • Alan Savoie
    signed via 2017-08-05 20:43:17 -0400
    This is endangering, unecessary, and a regression in clean energy and environmental awareness.
  • Kati Rooney
    signed via 2017-08-05 20:35:43 -0400
    This is a question of morals- doing the right thing to protect our drinking water and the lake that feeds and nourishes us- body and soul!
  • Lennie Meisel
    signed 2017-08-05 20:15:29 -0400
    Murphy’s Law prevails! It is critical to have a independent and appropriately comprehensive analysis. The potential consequences are too frightening not to deter, and prepare for such an important matter.
  • Jaimee Figueroa
    signed via 2017-08-05 20:05:14 -0400
  • Sarah Green
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-08-05 19:18:58 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • Sarah Green
    signed 2017-08-05 19:18:35 -0400
    We shouldn’t have Line 5 or any pipeline in the Great Lakes at all, yet we keep lowering the bar for Enron. It was bad enough when there was a spill in the Kalamazoo River, but I don’t want to imagine how bad this one will be.
  • Patricia Kuessner
    signed 2017-08-05 19:11:06 -0400
    patricia Kuessner: Decommission the Enbridge Line 5 pipelines through the Straits of Mackinac.

  • Emily Luyk
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-08-05 18:09:53 -0400
    SIGN THE PETITION to tell the State of Mich. the only acceptable way to protect the Great Lakes is Shut Down Line 5.
  • Emily Luyk
    signed via 2017-08-05 18:08:55 -0400
    Water is necessary to life and CANNOT be replaced! We can find alternative sources to energy but CANNOT find alternative water for the sake of all life. It is unfair to jeopardize this necessary life source to all for the sake of big money and big names. WAKE UP. Those few that support these pipelines cannot be protected by their money. When the water is ruined and gone, we will all suffer.
  • Jada James
    signed 2017-08-05 18:03:17 -0400
  • Silvia Zeinoff
    signed 2017-08-05 17:54:49 -0400
  • Joseph Wiczko
    signed via 2017-08-05 17:43:02 -0400
  • Bonnie Odette
    signed 2017-08-05 17:35:35 -0400
    I can’t believe our governor would let this happen Michigan is known as a sportsmans paradise .

    this state has already lost so much. If our government continues to choose big business over the wellbeing of the people and wildlife that live here ,We should reexamine where our governors true loyalty actually lies "LETS HOPE IT’S WHITH THE PEOPLE OF THE BEAUTIFUL STATE OF MICHIGAN!
  • David Boersma
    signed via 2017-08-05 17:08:10 -0400
    Protect our important resources!
  • Terry (Theresa) Townley
    signed 2017-08-05 17:06:01 -0400
    Our Great Lakes are a precious resource of clean water that needs protection. Experimenting with an aging existing infrastructure is Inexcusable.

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