Historic decision requires full closure of Line 5 by Spring 2021
LANSING – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today hailed an announcement made by Governor Gretchen Whitmer that she is revoking the easement agreement for the Line 5 Pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac — a move that will shut down the damaged and dangerous oil pipeline. Gov. Whitmer’s announcement requires closure of the line by spring of 2021.
“Governor Whitmer’s bold action to shut down Line 5 protects our Great Lakes, our health and our state’s economy by ending the threat of a catastrophic oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac once and for all,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “This 67-year-old pipeline is the single biggest threat to our Great Lakes, and Canadian oil company Enbridge Energy has proven for years through its actions that it cannot safely maintain and operate it. The risk to our most precious fresh water resource, the source of drinking water for millions, is far too great to allow Line 5 to continue operating and Governor Whitmer rightly moved to protect our state.”
Governor Whitmer’s decision comes with the release of her administration’s review of Enbridge’s 1953 Easement Agreement with the state of Michigan. The administration’s review found numerous blatant violations by Enbridge Energy regarding the pipeline’s safety and integrity, which are grounds for shutting down the pipeline.
“Today’s decision comes after years of tireless work by advocates following Enbridge’s devastating oil spill in the Kalamazoo River and numerous cases of near-miss catastrophes from anchor strikes, gaps in coating and other damage. The Governor’s action affirms our state’s commitment to protecting our water and is a critical step in moving us away from outdated fossil fuel infrastructure. We have a real opportunity to revitalize our economy by expanding clean energy sources and finding solutions that don’t imperil our most important fresh water resources,” Wozniak added.
Gov. Whitmer has already begun seeking alternative sources of propane for residents in the U.P. The U.P. Energy Task Force has produced a report with numerous suggestions for securing the U.P.’s energy needs and keeping costs low.
Enbridge Energy is the company responsible for the 2010 Kalamazoo River Oil Spill, where its Line 6B Pipeline burst, spilling millions of gallons into the river and surrounding area. It was one of the largest inland oil spills in History. Experts estimate a Line 5 oil spill would impact more than 400 miles of shoreline in Michigan, Wisconsin and Canada.