Enbridge and Michigan's Governor made a backroom deal to explore building a tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac that would keep Canadian oil flowing through the Great Lakes. A tunnel is a bad idea on several levels.
Sign the Petition
Join us and sign this petition now to oppose a Line 5 oil pipeline tunnel for Canada, protect the Great Lakes, and support shutting down the Line 5 oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.
To Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and all 2018 candidates for governor and attorney general in Michigan:
There is no light at the end of Gov. Snyder’s proposed Line 5 oil pipeline tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac. Michigan doesn’t need Enbridge’s Line 5 or the oil it sends to southern Ontario. We don’t need to keep the Great Lakes at risk of a catastrophic oil pipeline rupture in the Straits while state officials spend years and taxpayer resources keeping an old oil pipeline running so a Canadian oil transport company can get a new pipeline built in Michigan to transport heavy tar sands oil.
What we do need is a clear timetable to close Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac and keep oil pipelines out of the Great Lakes!
Gov. Snyder’s proposed Line 5 tunnel presents a host of troubling problems, threatening the long-term protection of the Great Lakes and their tributaries. They include:
- Exposing the Great Lakes to dangerous tar sands oil – Constructing a tunnel for a Canadian company to haul Canadian oil to southern Canada under the world’s largest source of fresh surface water will transform Line 5 into yet another dangerous Enbridge tar sands oil conduit. Line 5 does not currently transport heavy tar sands oil thanks to the State of Michigan’s 2015 ban. However, a new Canadian tunnel in the Straits is an invitation for Enbridge to seek to lift this ban and transport tar sands in Line 5. A Canadian Line 5 tunnel would give Enbridge the green light to expand its North American tar sands oil operations here in the heart of the Great Lakes.
- Continuing to use a leaky old oil pipeline – Building a tunnel for Canada under the Great Lakes ignores the other 641 miles of the 65-year old Line 5 that are increasingly corroding, especially in boggy wet areas. Since 1968, Line 5 has ruptured at least 29 times on land, spilling over 1.1 million gallons of oil into Michigan’s pristine lands and waters. Line 5 traverses 245 other water crossings, including ones that are tributaries of Lakes Michigan, Superior, and Huron. One Line 5 spill in the Upper Peninsula near Lake Michigan contaminated 825 tons of soil in the Hiawatha National Forest and exposed groundwater to potential contamination.
- Ignoring the law and alternatives – A Canadian tunnel under the Straits is not permissible under Michigan’s Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act (GLSLA), common law public trust doctrine, and would risk violating the 1836 Treaty and consent decree with Michigan Tribes protecting the Straits fishing grounds. These protections are meant to safeguard the Great Lakes and state officials must enforce them and Enbridge can’t ignore them. One such protection requires Enbridge to prove that there are no other alternatives to Line 5 or the Straits, when in fact other alternatives exist. As citizens, we also have a right to ensure our laws protecting the Great Lakes are followed.
- Opposing the public’s will – Michigan has already imposed a directional oil and gas drilling ban deep under the Great Lakes because of its sovereign title to these public trust Great Lakes bottomlands. Opening up the Great Lakes to more oil transport is in conflict with this established policy. The oil and gas drilling ban arose largely because of concern about the migration of oil upward from the subsurface lakebeds of the Great Lakes. Strongly supported by the public, the 2002 drilling ban was designed to prevent the very risk of a Line 5 tunnel for Canada would present. In addition, May 2018 public polling results found 54% of Michigan voters want the Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac to be shut down, and 87% of voters said they are concerned that the 65-year-old pipeline could have oil spill in Northern Michigan, while 64% said they are "very concerned."
- Triggering NAFTA claims by other companies – Allowing Enbridge to tunnel under the Great Lakes to benefit Canada could trigger other oil and gas transport companies to assert rights under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), citing violations of fair treatment and free trade provisions.
- Harming the Pure Michigan economy – Northern Michigan’s regional economy—from tourism to fishing—would face severe disruption during construction of a Canadian Line 5 tunnel. A state study estimated 27 months of significant increases in traffic congestion near the Mackinac Bridge, reduced housing for seasonal tourism workers and strains on emergency fire, rescue and police services.
- Risking an explosion and catastrophic spill – All oil pipelines – even those in tunnels – have an inherent risk of spills in their operations. The risk of having a spill cannot be completely engineered away because of the ever-present potential for human error contributing to or causing a spill event. Combining crude oil pipelines with other pipe fossil fuel liquids or gases introduces worst-case scenarios that would likely compound the high risk of unacceptable catastrophic harm.
- Promoting climate change – Climate change demands immediate, coordinated state and regional energy policies that promote the expansion of renewable energies. By continued investment in fossil fuel infrastructure like Line 5, however, the State would effectively delay the current energy transition to renewable energy across North America. In addition, extracting and refining Canadian tar sands crude oil produces 20 percent more climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions than the same processes for conventional American crude, according to a peer-reviewed study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
A Line 5 oil pipeline tunnel for Canada under the Straits of Mackinac poses an unacceptable risk to our water, ecosystems, health, and economy.
I urge you to oppose a Line 5 oil pipeline tunnel for Canada, protect the Great Lakes, and support shutting down the Line 5 oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.