Today the Michigan League of Conservation Voters issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit filed by Enbridge Energy against Governor Gretchen Whitmer:
Governor Whitmer took the necessary action to properly enforce the law after a thorough review of Enbridge Energy’s original agreement with the State of Michigan, which uncovered many serious violations, including dangerous problems with the integrity of the dual pipelines. Time and time again, Enbridge has shown a total disregard for the safety of our Great Lakes and regional economy as demonstrated by the devastating 2010 oil spill in the Kalamazoo River and their ongoing erroneous communications regarding Line 5’s true condition.
“For years, Enbridge and the Line 5 pipeline have put our Great Lakes at an enormous risk,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director for Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “This lawsuit is a desperate attempt to reverse Gov. Whitmer’s efforts to protect our Great Lakes. Governor Whitmer promised to use her clear authority to protect our water. We applaud her efforts to fight for the health and safety of our Great Lakes, drinking water and regional economy.”
Line 5 is 67 years old, in major disrepair and located in one of the most perilous places — on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. Earlier this year, these inherent risks compelled Attorney General Dana Nessel to act. Her lawsuit in Ingham County Circuit Court resulted in a temporary shut down of the pipeline.The State of Michigan has both the responsibility and the authority to enforce the easement agreement, with clear jurisdiction over the bottomlands of the Great Lakes.
“The Great Lakes and our water are part of who we are in Michigan. Enbridge has proven once again that they are not worried about the hundreds of miles of shoreline or hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk in the event of a Line 5 oil spill,” Wozniak said. “These are our lakes, and we must protect them.”
Enbridge’s legal actions attempt to make the case that the state of Michigan and the people of Michigan have no say in terms of what happens in the Great Lakes, which belong to the public. Historically, pipelines like Line 5 aren’t shut down until they rupture, resulting in an environmental catastrophe. Governor Whitmer is taking a bold and proactive approach, using her authority to avoid a spill from this outdated and damaged pipeline. The State of Michigan has a duty and obligation to protect the Great Lakes — and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on the Great Lakes — now and for future generations.
For more information on Line 5, visit michiganlcv.org/line-5.