Line 5 Pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac

There are right and wrong places for oil transportation. In the Great Lakes, 540,000 barrels of oil run through line 5 pipeline along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac each day through a 64- year-old pipeline designed for a 50-year lifespan. This pipeline poses an urgent and immediate risk of failure, which would cause an unprecedented disaster to Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and the economies and ecosystems which depend upon them, for decades to come.

As the video below shows, the Straits are uniquely treacherous and unpredictable, leading the author of the University of Michigan study on an oil spill at the Straits to conclude this is the worst possible place for an oil spill in the Great Lakes.

Our state government is beginning to take action. To provide recommendations on how to protect Michigan’s citizens and natural resources from Line 5, Governor Snyder and Attorney General Schuette created the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force, which produced 4 key recommendations on Line 5. A Pipeline Safety Oversight Board is currently overseeing the implementation of these recommendations. The goal of the recommendations is to minimize short-term risks and give the State necessary information to evaluate the risks to the Straits from the pipelines.

The risk analysis and alternatives analysis are two of the most important pieces in determining how quickly we can remove the pipeline currently running below the Straits of Mackinac.

The Attorney General has also made repeated statements about the pipeline.

“We would not allow this pipeline to be placed in the Great Lakes today and its days are certainly numbered. The Great Lakes are Michigan’s crown jewel and we cannot tolerate an environmental disaster that would forever change them, so I am glad to have this process underway” – February 1, 2016

“Following a review of the Dynamic Risk Line 5 Alternatives Analysis, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today stressed the need for a comprehensive plan based on science, available technology and common sense to drive the timeline for the closure of the Line 5 petroleum pipeline that currently runs under the Straits of Mackinac.” – June 29, 2017

“I am greatly concerned by the gaps discovered on the outer protective coating of Line 5 and his calls for a thorough review. This underscores the need for my 5-point plan to protect the integrity of the Great Lakes.” – Aug 30, 2017