What Union Gets Wrong in Today's Protest at Governor's Office.
Lansing, MI–Apparently Santa Claus cannot avoid being used to take sides in the State of Michigan’s legal effort to shut down the Line 5 oil pipeline to protect the Great Lakes, communities, and jobs.
Local union members from a Toledo, Ohio, refinery that receives oil by rail, truck, and two pipelines–including Line 5–say they plan to demonstrate today alongside Santa at Gov. Whitmer’s Lansing office in an effort to keep the damaged and dangerous old oil pipeline operating in the Straits of Mackinac.
In its press release announcing the protest, United Steelworkers Local 912 promoted Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 oil tunnel, but the project wouldn’t be built for 7-10 years and may not ever be approved by state and federal regulators. Line 5 would be at least 75 years old by then, and a quarter-century past its intended lifespan.
By comparison, Enbridge’s Line 6B was 41 years old when it failed, dumping more than 1.2 million gallons of heavy tar sands into the Kalamazoo River, which sickened more than 300 people, drove more than 150 people permanently from their homes and properties, and destroyed wildlife and habitat.
With Enbridge atop Santa’s naughty list every year, would the real Santa Claus, who delivers toys worldwide using renewable energy provided by reindeer, really back the spill-prone oil transport giant Enbridge or wild claims that a Line 5 shutdown would cause oil refining to stop in Toledo, jets to run out of fuel at Detroit Metro Airport, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to run dry of propane? Consider these facts from an analysis by FLOW:
Toledo–Two oil refineries operate in Toledo, Ohio and there's no credible evidence pointing to job losses from a Line 5 shutdown:
- BP-Husky-Toledo receives no Line 5 oil because it is a tar sands refinery that takes feedstock from Enbridge’s Line 78 (formerly Line 6B).
- PBF-Toledo. PBF states in its 2020 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it “processes a slate of light, sweet crudes from Canada, the Mid-continent, the Bakken region and the U.S. Gulf Coast.” The Patoka pipeline and the Mid-Valley pipeline supply PBF with oil and the refinery receives oil from rail and truck. The refinery relies on multiple pipelines and suppliers and says so in writing.
Gov. Whitmer, along with the Department of Natural Resources Director and the Michigan Attorney General, are upholding their duty to protect the Great Lakes, public health, and the drinking water supply from Line 5 and Enbridge. The Canadian energy company has a troubling track record of spills, including at least 33 failures on Line 5 that in total have spewed more than 1.1 million gallons of oil across Michigan and Wisconsin’s land and water.
A sizeable Line 5 spill into the Straits of Mackinac and the upper one-third of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan would threaten the 350,000 jobs in Michigan’s coastal communities that are directly tied to the Great Lakes and depend on the Great Lakes; a spill would jeopardize the 1.3 million jobs and $82 billion in wages tied to tourism, agriculture, fishing, shipping and related industries in the Great Lakes.
That’s why Oil & Water Don't Mix and the National Wildlife Federation in November delivered more than 40,000 petition signatures to President Biden asking him to support Gov. Whitmer's efforts to shut down Line 5.
More facts on Line 5:
Detroit Metropolitan Airport
- In a letter to Gov. Whitmer, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine claimed, “our refineries supply the majority of aviation fuels to Detroit Metro Airport,” and asserted that the shutdown of Line 5 would lead to airline schedule disruptions. 2020 jet fuel consumption at Detroit Metro Airport, however, totals about 1,658,000 gallons per day, according to a 2010 forecast by the airport. Based on numbers published by PBF, BP Husky, and Marathon Refineries, Line 5 appears to supply only about 10% of the jet fuel at Detroit Metro Airport, not 40% as claimed by Ohio Gov. DeWine. Both Marathon and PBF have other crude oil sources, and therefore other pipelines could provide feedstock to satisfy regional jet fuel needs. Alternatively, other nearby refineries in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio could make up this shortfall.
- Just 1-2 propane rail cars or 4-5 tanker trucks a day could replace the aging Line 5 pipeline’s U.P. propane capacity without risking a Great Lakes oil spill, FLOW’s latest research shows. The rail cars or tanker trucks could deliver propane from Superior, Wisconsin, to the existing propane storage-and-distribution center in Rapid River, Michigan, north of Escanaba on U.S. 2.
- Plains All American could increase the capacity of its propane storage facility at Kincheloe, in the eastern U.P, which is served by rail and not Line 5. The energy distribution network is highly adaptable such that Enbridge does not have a monopoly on propane delivery to U.P. distributors.
- Shutting down Line 5 would add just 5 cents to the cost of a gallon of propane, which has hovered around $2 for the past year, according to a 2018 study by London Economics International LLC, a Boston-based consultancy, and commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation.
- Gov. Whitmer formed an Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force to identify energy supply options, specifically including propane in the event that Line 5 is shut down. The system can adjust with smart planning.
Bottom Line on Line 5
Shutting down Line 5 will protect hundreds of thousands of jobs. A Line 5 shutdown would not significantly impact jobs at Toledo refineries. There is absolutely no evidence that a shutdown would impair operations at Detroit Metro Airport. The Upper Peninsula has viable options to Line 5 for Its propane supply and economy.
- Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign OilAndWaterDontMix.org
- Fact Check: When Line 5 Shuts Down, Detroit Jets Will Still Fly and Union Refinery Jobs Will Still Exist
- Remember When Line 5 Shut Down a Year Ago, and None of Enbridge's Doomsaying Came True?
- Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac - FLOW
- Line 5 — "Key Facts”- FLOW