Great Lakes Business Network Members to State: Line 5 draft alternatives analysis prioritizes Enbridge’s interests over Michigan businesses and jobs.
(August 4, 2017) – The Great Lakes Business Network submitted formal comments today sharply criticizing the Dynamic Risk alternatives analysis for Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, which carries up to 23 million gallons of oil daily through the Straits of Mackinac. The Great Lakes Business Network (GLBN) letter includes signatories from over 30 businesses dependent on Great Lakes tourism and outdoor recreation including Bell’s Brewing, Patagonia and M22. These businesses emphasize that the draft report prioritizes Canadian company Enbridge’s business interest over the interests of Great Lakes businesses and the state’s natural resources which support them. The businesses call for specific changes to ensure the final report is valid and useful for making a decision about the fate of Line 5.
“The outdoor recreation industry in Michigan generates $26.6 billion and 232,000 jobs, annually” said Dan Sloboda of Patagonia, Inc. “Risking this industry and the Great Lakes shoreline, so a pipeline can take a shortcut through the Straits of Mackinac is irresponsible, economically short-sighted and not in Michigan’s public interest. This is not an anti-oil issue; it’s about building sustainable economies.”
Specifically, the GLBN members note that the study focuses on alternatives for delivering 540,000 barrels per day – Enbridge’s maximum daily capacity – rather than the volume which stays in or originates in Michigan. GLBN members also wrote that Dynamic Risk’s analysis of the risks and impacts of a potential spill are “woefully inadequate,” failing to consider a true worst-case-scenario.
“University of Michigan researchers said up to 700 miles of shoreline are potentially in harm’s way, but Dynamic Risk claims their spill scenario for the Straits would only cost $100-$200 million. Enbridge’s Kalamazoo River oil spill cost over $1 billion to clean up and that was confined to a river channel,” said Larry Bell, President and Founder of Bell’s Brewery and Upper Hand Brewery. “Their findings are divorced from reality.”
Additionally, GLBN members point out that the report showed bias towards some alternatives that Enbridge is likely to favor. Dynamic Risk did not analyze viable alternatives for delivering propane to the Upper Peninsula, such as a new four-inch pipeline to Rapid River that would more than meet the needs of Michigan citizens. They note that the report favored extremely invasive options, like tunneling or trenching a pipeline through the Great Lakes, by failing to outline permitting hurdles, tribal rights and costs of comparable projects, among other shortcomings.
The Great Lakes Business Network was formed in January, 2017 to coordinate and elevate the voices of business leaders to protect the Great Lakes from environmental threats. See www.glbusinessnetwork.com for more information.
The full comments can be found at http://glbusinessnetwork.com/2017/08/alternatives-analysis/.