Press Release

Decision-Making Phase Begins in Historic Line 5 Oil Tunnel Case

“The experts proved the tunnel would cause emission of billions of tons of GHGs over the 99 years of its projected life”

Lansing, MI – Today parties involved in the Line 5 oil tunnel authorization before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) submitted their final briefs, effectively marking the start of the crucial final decision-making phase of this historic case.

For the first time in Michigan, evidence of global warming impacts will be considered in this type of agency review, under authority of the Michigan Environmental Protection Act—made possible by the intervention of the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) and Michigan Climate Action Network (MiCAN). The intervenors introduced research and analysis by internationally renowned environmental scientists and economists proving the climate damage that would result from building the tunnel, and that alternatives exist. Their findings show that the tunnel must be denied.

“The experts proved the tunnel would cause the emission of billions of tons of greenhouse gases over the 99 years of its projected life, when compared to not building it,” said ELPC Senior Attorney Margrethe Kearney. “When you set that beside the troubling climate future foretold by the IPCC report released just two weeks ago, it’s clear that authorizing new fossil fuel infrastructure is completely unjustifiable under Michigan environmental law.”

“Michigan’s leaders are responsible for protecting our state and the greatest expanse of fresh water on the planet,” said Kate Madigan, MiCAN’s director. “Our region and this vast, precious, and vulnerable ecosystem have already warmed 30% more than the rest of the contiguous U.S. Global warming is gripping us harder and sooner. We owe it to our children and our cherished place to respond now with the bold urgency the situation requires. We call on the MPSC to deny this oil tunnel.”


ELPC Final Brief, submitted 3.11.2022:

Peter A. Erickson, Senior Scientist and Climate Policy Program Director at Stockholm Environment Institute—U.S., a 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with Tufts University. Read full Erickson testimony here.

Peter Howard, PhD, Economics Director at the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law. Read full Howard testimony here.

Elizabeth A. Stanton, PhD, Director and Senior Economist at the Applied Economics Clinic. Read full Stanton testimony here.

Jonathan T. Overpeck, PhD, interdisciplinary climate scientist and the Samuel A. Graham Dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, and Working Group 1 Coordinating Lead Author for the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC 4th Assessment (2007). Read full Overpeck testimony here.

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