Take Action Today to Oppose Michigan’s Senate Bill 1197 and Save the Mackinac Bridge from Enbridge Line 5

FLOW President Jim Olson addresses the board of the Mackinac Bridge Authority at its Nov. 8, 2018, meeting in St. Ignace.

FLOW is urging supporters to contact your Michigan lawmakers today using our guidance below and to plan to join FLOW and other leaders of the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign who are hosting a Line 5 lawmaker lobby day for Tuesday, November 27, in Lansing, to fight for the Great Lakes and the Mackinac Bridge by opposing Governor Snyder’s Enbridge oil tunnel scheme and shutting down Line 5 in the Mackinac Straits.

In coordination with the Snyder administration, departing State Sen. Tom Casperson, a Republican from Escanaba, on November 8 introduced Senate Bill 1197 to 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. There’s also the uncertain prospect of adding gas or electric lines, which could rent space in the tunnel by paying Enbridge, not the bridge authority that is proposed to own it. In fact, if the fiber optic lines that currently cross the Mackinac Bridge were moved to the proposed tunnel, Enbridge could gain more than $500,000 a year in lease revenue currently going to operate and maintain the bridge.

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. Here are the three key points to make when contacting your lawmaker (You can look up your state representative here and state senator here).

Senate Bill 1197:

  1. Fails to address the imminent risk of the decaying Line 5 pipelines lying on the bottom of the Great Lakes for 10 years or more. The deal struck by Gov. Snyder and Enbridge would lock in, by right, the operation of the 65-year old, gouged, damaged, and deteriorating Line 5 dual pipelines across the Straits of Mackinac for at least the 10-year period it is expected that tunnel construction would take.  At any future time, if the Enbridge decides not to build the tunnel, the agreement would obligate future governors to keep Line 5 in the waters of the Mackinac Straits indefinitely!
  2. Compromises the mission of the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) and the Mighty Mac itself. For more than 60 years, the Mackinac Bridge Authority has overseen and managed Michigan’s most iconic asset with no hint of controversy and with impeccable performance. This proposed legislation would draw the MBA into the middle of a major controversy with no other purpose than to allow a private, Canadian oil company to continue using a short cut across Michigan and through the Great Lakes to transport oil from western Canadian oil fields to eastern Canadian refineries, with some of that oil being shipped overseas.
  3. Exposes the Mackinac Bridge Authority, toll payers, and taxpayers to financial peril. Since its beginning, the Mackinac Bridge was designed to be funded through the tolls collected by those crossing the bridge. The proposed legislation, which is designed to authorize the backroom deal struck by Gov. Snyder and Enbridge, opens up numerous areas of financial risk for the MBA and the public, including the potential liability in the event of an explosion or other catastrophe associated with the proposed tunnel or if Enbridge fails to keep its commitments to build and maintain the tunnel during the 99-year lease.

The Michigan Senate could quickly approve the bill in the lame duck session after Thanksgiving, and send it to the House. Gov. Snyder is seeking to sign and tie the hands of the incoming administration of Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel, who both campaigned for shutting down Line 5, not replacing it with a tunnel. Gov. Snyder also released a draft of a third oil tunnel agreement with Enbridge, which Senate Bill 1197 seeks to enact.

Click here for FLOW’s summary of recent action at the November 8 meeting of the Mackinac Bridge Authority. 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.

27 comments on “Take Action Today to Oppose Michigan’s Senate Bill 1197 and Save the Mackinac Bridge from Enbridge Line 5

  1. R Malcolm Ramsay on

    Why is this even being ‘argued’ or considered? Are parties in favor of ANY Oil lines through/under Planet EARTH’S largest ‘contiguous’ freshwater lake ecosystem truly willing to put PROFITS over even the slightest chance of a spill-caused damage to it?
    Some serious re-thinking and true self reflection is needed by here before the worse happens.

  2. Janet Hessler on

    Seriously! We need to protect our water at all costs. It is the single most important issue facing MI and the world! Please, please side with water conservation and protection!

  3. Valerie Wolters on

    Our freshwater future should not be compromised.
    This is the opposite of transparent government, as well as the greedy
    “Solution” for Enbridge.
    It seems to me that there are miles and miles of provincial land which
    Would—and Should–be the transportation route for Enbridge.
    The risks seem imminently dangerous to our Great Lakes, and all the Earth’s waters which would continue to spread any accidental ruptures.

  4. Sue Sweeney on

    There is nothing that shows this to be a boon for Michigan and it’s citizens and a history of horror stories against going forward with this. It is a win-win for Canadian Oil company Enbridge in that it saves them money and time in transport fees and they carry none of the responsibility in the future. Michigan’s Bridge Authority and it’s citizens carry both the financial and environmental risk. We are blessed to live with the largest fresh water supply in the world – the risk of disaster is too big and unnecessary.

  5. Pamela Smithbell on

    Do not oppose the will of the voters. The vast majority of Michigan citizens are well aware of the risks of oil passing under the straights and oppose it. Do not let lame duck politics risk our clean water and economy.

  6. Lisa Patrell on

    Washtenaw Cty #WaterProtectors are building on self-directed calling campaign and LameDuckLobby Day Nov 27 with #ONE Postcard writing campaign (kick-off is Friday in Ypsi) to sponsoring Senator plus the 5 members of Govt Oper Comm, where SB1197 sits.
    materials for others to host postcard writing session is free. Find it on fbk pg, Michigan-Stands-
    In-Unity under “Files” tab. Then–
    #TWO Rounding up other #WaterProtectors around the state to be present in the chambers during the 12 days of lame duck session (Nov27-Dec20).
    materials are under development and available for free on same fbk page under same tab
    We are working in coordination with our local Representative and organizers of

  7. Laura Paalanen on

    Hey Snyder, you have done enough harm to the people and environment in Michigan as it is. BACK OFF on the line 5 tunnel. We all know it’s just another scheme for you to line your friends and your own pockets. This line could destroy just about everything YOU claim to care about, you know, “Pure Michigan” and all that hogwash YOU spew all over the place. You don’t give a BLEEP about anyone but yourself and your actions since you have been in office proves this! BACK OFF SNYDER and just go away quietly!!!

  8. Barb Ford on

    Our Great Lakes must be protected! The risk of disaster from Line 5 is too great. Shut it down, do not tunnel. Do not put short term profit for a few above clean water for everyone. A spill from that pipeline cannot ever be fully cleaned up. Once the damage is done it can never be fully undone.

  9. Tracy Stoll on

    Look at what a disaster Marshall Michigan turned out to be after an Enbridge break! They still have not cleaned that up entirely yet!

  10. Linda McGill on

    MESSAGE TO Senator Stama…urge a NO VOTE on Senate Bill 1197…an oil spill in our Great Lakes at the Straits would be an absolute catastrophy…policing and/or owning the Pipeline and/or proposed tunnel under the Straits is NOT the responsibility of the Mackinaw Bridge Authority nor should it be. NO TO ENBRIDGE….SHUT DOWN LINE 5! NO OIL IN OUR WATERS.

  11. Kathy Mayo on

    Our precious fresh water source can not be put at this kind of risk. Once a spill occurs, it will have devastating effects on all waterways & health of our environment & lives!! There is no such thing as a small leak!! SHUT DOWN LINE 5 …NOW!!

  12. Mark Pickering on

    Can Ohio, Pennsylvania, and/or New York file a lawsuit to stop this, given that they are on the receiving end of an oil spill?

  13. Ardine Burgess on

    The waters of the Great Lakes are more important than a corporation that does not keep it’s pipelines in good repair. Throw them out of all the waters of the Great Lakes !

  14. Maryann Cacciaglia on

    Just heard back from my Senator Wayne Schmidt who I emailed last week to ask his support for shutting down Enbridge’s Line 5. He says he is in agreement with Snyder and supports the tunnel! While this doesn’t surprise me, I’m so angry at his response. I will continue to call his office and the office of Larry Inman my representative. We have to stop the madness of putting our precious Great Lakes at such risk.

  15. Carolyn & John Paulitch on

    From Carolyn & John Paulitch … We grew up along the Det. River & nr. Lake Erie & RECALL the 30 to 40 yr. effort, funded by taxpayers to clean up the river & OUR lake. Chemical plants & others dumped their debris for many yrs. & when the pollution became evident, they either filed bankruptcy and most left the country. Enbridge suffered huge losses w/ the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill, that residents 1st found, and it cost billions to clear. Our lakes already have clean the lakes programs we need to support and all should be wary of huge businesses entering our waterways with 99 yr tunnel plans they can find a way to run from should a spill occur.


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