In a letter singed by more than a dozen environmental groups is pressing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to assert state authority as a “trustee” of the bottomlands and waters of the Straits of Mackinac.
Groups signing on to the letter to the Governor include:
- FLOW (For Love Of Water)
- Michigan Environmental Council (MEC)
- Michigan Land Use Institute
- Northwest Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC)
- Sierra Club of Michigan
- SURF Great Lakes
- League of Conservation Voters (LCV)
- Freshwater Future
- Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)
- Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCVC)
- The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay
- Michigan Resource Stewards
- West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC)
- Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
- Straits Area Audubon Society
Jim Olson, president of FLOW, a Michigan non-profit, stated:
“To date, the position of the state has been that they don't have jurisdiction to do much but can encourage a review" by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. "What has been missing for 60 years is the state's assertion of its authority as trustee of the bottomlands and the waters of the Great Lakes."
An easement for use of the bottomlands in the Great Lakes was issued by the State of Michigan to Enbridge corporation. The letter states that conditions of the easement give Governor Snyder leverage to demand detailed information about the contents, safety and use of Line 5.
Another legal tool would be the Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act, which provides for protection and preservation of the public's interest in bottomlands, the groups said.
The letter states that State leaders "have broad authority to demand that Enbridge conform to the duties and standards and correct or address any violations or potential violations of public trust law."