Enbridge Signs Backroom Deal With Michigan

Enbridge and the state of Michigan signed a new agreement on its controversial Line 5 pipeline, effectively allowing Enbridge to continue its operation in the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge unveiled its seven point safety plan, which makes suggestions for, among other things, increased surveillance of the pipeline, and better plans in place when the pipe spills or bursts. Another suggestion is to temporarily shut down the line during severe storm events. Yet another is the proposal to replace the current two-pipe system with a tunnel.

“Nothing short of ending the flow of oil through the Straits will protect the Great Lakes from a catastrophic spill,” said Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director of FLOW.  “It’s remarkable given Enbridge’s pattern and practice of lying to the state about Line 5’s condition that the governor is now trusting Enbridge to abide by a new agreement.  This puts the future of the Great Lakes in the hands of Enbridge.”

“Putting in more technology to ensure we find out sooner when Line 5 ruptures is not the same as protecting the Great Lakes,” said Anne Woiwode, Conservation Chair for the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.  “These are good steps but they are only band-aids and we are concerned that instead of protecting the Great Lakes they will be seen as permanent solutions. They are not.”

Surfrider Chicago joins other members of Oil & Water Don't Mix group (Sierra Club, Chippewa and Ottawa tribal councils, Alliance For The Great Lakes, FLOW, etc) in denouncing this unilateral action by Gov. Snyder, who is ignoring the standard legal process of a thorough review and presentation of opinions. "Enbridge has expertly played a long game, delaying any real action for several years. But what happened today was executed with lightning speed," said Mitch McNeil, Chair of Surfrider Chicago. "In one bold move, they've taken complete control."

Surfrider Chicago invites public commentary in protest of Line 5 at the OWDM website.