Updated November 30, 2018
The rush continues in Michigan’s lame-duck legislature to bind the future of the Mackinac Bridge to notorious oil-spiller Enbridge and its proposed private oil tunnel.
A Republican-led Senate committee at an 8:15 a.m. hearing on November 28 voted 3-2 along party lines to approve Senate Bill 1197 and advance it to the full Senate for consideration, perhaps as early as this afternoon or likely no later than Thursday. The committee amended the bill to prevent the state’s bonding authority from being applied to the private tunnel, but otherwise left intact legislation that would amend the Mackinac Bridge Authority Act to allow it to own and operate a “utility tunnel,” with the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline as the intended occupant. Further amendments could be offered in the full Senate as early as December 4, after which, if not defeated, the bill would move to the state House for continued fast-track consideration.
The quick moves come after hundreds of Michiganders of many different backgrounds and political interests joined Oil & Water Don’t Mix, FLOW, and other lead organizations on November 27 in Lansing to protect the Mackinac Bridge, the Great Lakes, and the economy from Enbridge and its proposed Line 5 oil tunnel. Advocates formed teams and visited the offices of all 38 state senators and 110 state representatives, directly engaged lawmakers and their staff, and shared concerns and content regarding Senate Bill 1197.
FLOW is urging our supporters to contact your Michigan lawmakers today using our guidance below to oppose Governor Snyder’s Enbridge oil tunnel scheme and support shutting down Line 5 in the Mackinac Straits. (You can look up your state representative here and state senator here).
Please use our updated Line 5 oil tunnel fact sheet to get informed and share it with your lawmakers and others who can help stand up for the Great Lakes and the Mighty Mac. In addition, here are some suggested talking points. Pick a few points and use them to write your email or create a short call script. Personalized messages are most effective.
- Senate Bill 1197 is not a tunnel agreement; it is simply a stall tactic. All it does is guarantee that Enbridge pipelines remain in the Great Lakes for at least another decade, and will not create jobs.
- The bill is an end-run around environmental regulations that put the Great Lakes in greater danger. The only solution to the pipeline problem is to decommission Line 5 now.
- The bill hijacks the Mackinac Bridge Authority and takes its focus away from the Bridge by potentially supervising the construction and operation of a utility tunnel.
- Arguments around the Upper Peninsula propane supply are nothing more than a scare tactic: recent studies from London Economics International show that if Line 5 were shut down tomorrow, the effect would be a 2-3 cent per gallon increase in Michigan gas prices and a 5-cent per gallon increase in propane prices.
- The bill would have an indeterminate, potentially large, fiscal impact on the Department of Transportation and local units of government, according to a new, non-partisan Senate fiscal analysis.
- Please vote “no” on SB 1197 and oppose any attempts to create a separate authority during lame duck to own an oil tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac.
And once you’ve reached out to your state lawmakers, take a moment to shape your same message into a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
Stay tuned to the FLOW’s website for additional updates, legal analyses, and more steps that citizens, communities, and businesses can take to protect the Great Lakes and the Mighty Mac. Thank you for standing up for the Mackinac Bridge and the Great Lakes!