June 30, 2020
LANSING, Michigan — Today, on behalf of the Michigan Climate Action Network (MiCAN) and itself, the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) filed a petition to intervene in front of the Michigan Public Service Commission to oppose Enbridge’s application for permission to relocate its deteriorating Line 5 twin pipeline to a new tunnel through the Straits of Mackinac in Lake Michigan.
The groups seek to intervene in this case before the MPSC to protect their members’ interests in preserving the Great Lakes and mitigating the impacts of climate change on Michigan and the Great Lakes. At a time when our state and country are moving very rapidly toward renewables and electric vehicles, the ill-conceived construction of a new oil pipeline and tunnel under Lake Michigan will continue to raise the temperature of the planet for decades to come.
“Building new fossil fuel infrastructure that our state does not need when scientists are urging us to cut fossil fuel use in half this decade to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis is dangerous and irresponsible,” says Kate Madigan, director of Michigan Climate Action Network. “Our state must look hard at the climate impacts before giving Enbridge permission to build an oil tunnel that could extend the life of this oil pipeline for another 99 years. Michigan can be known as a climate leader, or as the last state to build an oil pipeline in the midst of the climate crisis.”
ELPC and MiCAN are intervening to make sure the MPSC has a more complete set of data regarding the need for a new tunnel and pipeline, as well as the environmental and climate impacts of the proposed project. The tunnel and new pipeline is intended to replace Enbridge’s damaged 67-year-old pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac that carries 23 million gallons of oil every day and already threatens to release oil and natural gas liquid into powerful currents that could carry contaminated water for miles in every direction.
“If Enbridge constructs a new tunnel, the hazard of a potential oil spill from the existing pipeline is extended for another five to six years or longer, which would be devastating to the region,” said Margrethe Kearney, Senior Attorney at ELPC. “Enbridge’s proposed project burdens ELPC’s and MiCAN’s members with potentially greater climate change impacts. Enbridge’s reckless replacement pipeline would also expose Michiganders to a heightened risk of contaminated drinking water, endangered livelihoods and lost access to recreational activities.”
MiCAN is a Traverse City, Michigan-based statewide network of organizations, groups, and individuals working to build and mobilize a powerful grassroots movement in the Great Lakes state to call for clean energy solutions, climate stability, and climate justice.
ELPC is a non-profit public interest environmental organization with offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and throughout the Midwest, working to achieve cleaner air, advance clean renewable energy and energy efficiency resources, improve environmental quality, and protect clean water and preserve natural resources in the Midwest.