MCWC Position: State “deal” leaves Enbridge in charge of Line 5

State “deal” leaves Enbridge in Charge of Line 5

Finally, the State of Michigan has tired of its endless studies and advisory boards. It certainly is tired of the overwhelming public comments in support of shutting down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac and stopping the flow of oil and gas under the Great Lakes. The State has had enough of the prickly public, which seems almost unanimous in its insistence that the 65 year old, decaying pipeline puts the lakes at high risk and was a bad idea from the start. The State has even had enough of Enbridge’s assurances that all is well with the pipeline, even though all is proven to be the opposite over and over.

So the State of Michigan has made a “deal” with Enbridge. The details of the deal have been broadcast far and wide. Basically they require a tunnel under the St. Clair River to Sarnia, and say the line at the Straits must be shut down if weather produces waves over 8 feet. Some monitoring for anchor damage is required also. Nothing is said about the risks associated with the simple fact of winter ice cover. The deal basically keeps the door open for Enbridge to keep operating the pipeline and suggests that a tunnel under the Straits might be in the cards for the future.

FLOW, For Love of Water, has been in the lead within the Oil and Water Don’t Mix Coalition, providing the scientific and legal arguments for shutting down Line 5. Anyone needing more in-depth information should visit those websites, and watch for more information on ours as it unfolds. MCWC has been a member of the coalition, which includes just about every reputable environmental group in the state. Unfortunately Enbridge still seems to be calling the shots with the Governor and Attorney General. The public will just have to get a bit noisier it seems, if we are to avoid the risk this line still holds and turn sharper in the direction of a renewable future.

MCWC is totally opposed to any tunnel under the Straits, as it is opposed to any continuation of the movement of oil under, on, or in Great Lakes waters. We want a total shut down of Line 5 with no replacement pipeline under the Straits. There is no clear economic or environmental benefit to more pipelines. Our state is already full of pipelines putting communities at risk of disasters like the Kalamazoo River disaster. The Great Lakes are a sacred public trust. The State and its people must exercise their responsibilities to uphold that trust.


  1. Invite a speaker to talk to your local community groups about this issue and present the argument for a total shut down.
  2. Continue to write to Governor Snyder and Attorney General Scheutte to express your opposition to pipelines and tunnels under the Great Lakes.
  3. Get on our Action Alert list to make sure we can keep you informed about future actions.
  4. Contact us for a yard sign. We still have a few left that need a home

Peggy Case, President Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation


Also published on Medium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *