In a letter to our elected officials of the Great State of Michigan, Gerald Fetty, CEO of Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry urges swift action on the recommendations by the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force.
Mackinac Island, Michigan's destination vacation gem, is located in the Straits of Mackinac and is only about 5 miles from the submerged Line 5 pipeline. It is only accessible in the summer by commercial ferry, boat, or airplane. Star Line is one of only three ferry companies that transport most of the Island's 15,000 tourists per day during peak season.
To our elected officials of the Great State of Michigan,
Growing up in Michigan, spending the summers of my youth working on the Straits of Mackinac and now earning my lively hood directly from them, I have always been enthralled and astounded by their beauty. Even more so, many travelers have told me of their trips around the world and how our area is one of the most beautiful they have ever seen.
Putting aside the intrinsic beauty of our area let us think of its' strategic significance as the world's largest source of fresh surface water. We have an international treasure which needs to be managed and protected accordingly. As the residents of this great state, we are inherently charged with this duty.
Experts and past events tell us that a failure of the Enbridge pipelines will have catastrophic consequences reaching far beyond the area. There will be major ecological and economic impact throughout Michigan, our Great Lakes Sister States and Canada. We are all partners in this great ecosystem.
Our ferry line operates under the oversight and regulations of several local, regional and national government organizations. If we do not adhere to and stay in compliance with the standards and regulations of these organizations, we simply may not operate. Our procedures, operational policies and equipment are scrutinized, inspected and tested on a constant and regular cycle. If we do not pass, our equipment, (our boats) may not be put into operation. If a piece of equipment, cannot be maintained to the standards governing it, it has to be repaired or replaced. It is as simple as that.
Yet two pipelines, which cross the Straits are reported to have far less oversight and are currently out of compliance with existing safety standards.
I know what it takes to keep our boats safe. I do not know what it takes to keep a pipeline safe. However, I know that more needs to be done quickly. I urge our Governor and state legislators to act swiftly, and move forward vigorously with urgency on the recommendations made by the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force.
Let us keep the term "Pure Michigan" as a true representation of our great state.