FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 27, 2017
Contact: Liz Kirkwood Email: Liz@FLOWforWater.org
Executive Director Office: (231) 944-1568
FLOW (For Love of Water) Cell: (570) 872-4956
TRAVERSE CITY, MI – FLOW issued the following statement today regarding the announcement of an agreement between the state of Michigan and Enbridge Energy concerning the company’s Line 5 oil pipelines in the open waters of the Mackinac Straits, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet:
“It is imprudent and arbitrary for the Governor to unilaterally sign a deal with Enbridge before the legal processes and evidence, including the opinion of experts on all sides, have been thoroughly reviewed and completed. Governor Snyder appears to have ignored and violated his own executive order, law, rules and once more ignored his public trust duties toward the Great Lakes, water, public health and safety, and the protection of citizens.”
“While the Governor’s agreement with Enbridge imposes some important interim safety measures, these measures should be steps toward the final shutdown – not replacement – of the pipelines.”
“It makes no sense to trust Enbridge to abide by a new agreement when it has been flagrantly violating its existing commitments and attempting to conceal those violations.”
“This is the same company that brought Michigan the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history and that misled both state and federal authorities for three years about its pipeline anchors causing bare metal spots on 48 locations along Line 5 in the Straits.”
“The Governor cannot preordain the tunnel option without Enbridge submitting an application under state law — the Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act — and demonstrating that there is no feasible and prudent alternative to continuing to use the Great Lakes as a high-risk shortcut for transporting oil from one part of Canada to another.”
“The presumed tunnel option bypasses and prematurely dictates the future of Line 5 and sidelines the three-year process that the Governor set into motion with the creation of the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force and the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board under his executive order.”
“The final alternatives analysis just came out on November 20 and the public comment period ends on December 22. This agreement completely eviscerates any meaningful opportunity for the public to weigh in on alternatives. Moreover, the public and the Governor’s office still do not have a comprehensive study analyzing the risk of Line 5 and its alternatives.”
“The Governor’s preemptive move today continues to violate treaty-reserved rights that predate Michigan’s statehood. The five federally recognized tribes whose fishing rights are located in the Straits of Mackinac were never consulted in 1953, and again were not consulted as part of this 2017 agreement between Enbridge and the State of Michigan. Sixty percent of the tribal commercial whitefish harvest comes from the spawning grounds in the Straits of Mackinac.”
FLOW (For Love of Water) is a Great Lakes water law and policy center and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Traverse City, Michigan. Our mission is to protect the common waters of the Great Lakes Basin through public trust solutions.
Enbridge Line 5, Governor Snyder
Please stop ignoring Michigan and – indeed – all Great Lakes loving people! Enbridge does not deserve any more chances, and our environment cannot take any more risks from the pipeline under the Straits. Decommission Line 5 immediately. And no more deals with Enbridge.
Gov. Snyder, please take the side of prevention. Your actions are impacting all of the Great Lakes. Michigan cannot gamble on this issue when this much fresh water is at stake. For drinking water, for recreation, for tourism, for our economy, for our livelihoods please decommission Pipeline 5. Please start thinking safe renewable energy.