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This Week Monday: October 19

Last call for EGLE comments, tunnel myths webinar, and problems with an Ice Age cultural and historic site on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. All in today's This Week Monday. 

This Week Monday

Today: Last Call to Tell EGLE to Reject Line 5 Oil Tunnel

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After today at 11:59 PM, the Whitmer administration's environmental regulators will close public comment on Enbridge's proposed Line 5 tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac. Everything we know so far suggests it is a tunnel proposal from hell, riddled with questionable high-risk boring plans reflecting a weak design in shaky rock and soil conditions. The kind of cutting corners you'd expect from Enbridge, whose negligence caused the biggest oil pipeline rupture in Michigan history. How will Enbridge treat 5 million gallons a day of wastewater discharged into the Straits?  We don't know.

Should we just trust Enbridge to do the right thing? Nope. Not when it comes to protecting the Great Lakes.  So consider adding your voice in opposition to Enbridge's tunnel vision while there's still time. The easiest way is to sign the Oil & Water Don't Mix petition to the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) today. EGLE is scheduled to begin releasing its permit decisions in late November.

In detailed comments submitted to EGLE by tunnel expert Brian O'Mara and former senior geologist with the state, Mike Wilczynski, the two men with more than 60 accumulated years of tunneling and scientific experience warn that Enbridge's current, seriously flawed tunnel plans leave the state (a.k.a. you and me) vulnerable to disastrous consequences. The bottom line: "EGLE is now faced with having to make important permit determinations under pressure from all sides, without having the expertise to understand the technical issues I and others have raised for a project with unprecedented risk and consequences for the people and environment of Michigan,” said O'Mara, a 30-year veteran of tunnel construction.

It's Showtime! Explore the Line 5 Tunnel Myth on Wednesday

The Straits of Mackinac Alliance is hosting its second free webinar Wednesday at 7 p.m. titled, The Tunnel Myth. U.P. resident and Alliance leader Patty Peek can see where Enbridge plans to build their Line 5 tunnel from her front porch.  She will discuss how Enbridge was against the tunnel before they were for it and its potential impact.  Meanwhile, retired chemical engineer Gary Street has studied the tunnel proposal and will share why he thinks it's a potential bomb, as in the exploding kind. This can't happen here? Check out this report from WHYY.

Register for Wednesday's webinar here and you can also get details of future webinar topics this month.

Will EGLE Bury Native American Culture Site?

When the Detroit Free Press last week broke the story about the discovery of a potential Ice Age cultural and historic site on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac near where Enbridge wants to bore its controversial tunnel, it made national news.  But the people who we count on as our public watchdogs over Enbridge's activities in the Straits initially showed up more as an Enbridge lap dog, suggesting without evidence and before any real investigation that the site would be safe. An EGLE spokesperson stated as fact that Enbridge would be boring through solid bedrock, which is not at all likely according to independent geology and tunnel experts who have studied Straits boring samples. Moreover, Enbridge's original plan did not claim to be boring entirely through bedrock, and only later did the company assert that was the case, but, again, without any reliable public documentation. Not comforting, especially given Enbridge's track record on honesty.

By the time the Ice Age archeological find story entered the second-day news cycle, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (our theoretical environmental watchdog) was reassuring people that they were now taking the cultural site discovery more seriously. We shall see. Meanwhile, tribal members who went public with the archeological find told Michigan Advance Friday that they are taking their case directly to EGLE and asking the Whitmer administration to protect the potential ancient tribal site by putting a hold on any tunnel permitting.


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For comments, corrections, suggestions contact David Holtz at [email protected].  The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone unless I have appropriated them from others, in which case they are now mine too.--DH

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