(October 9, 2018 – Ann Arbor, Mich.) – The Great Lakes Business Network (GLBN), comprised of over 100 businesses throughout the Great Lakes, have adopted a position statement in opposition to the Line 5 agreement announced by Governor Snyder on October 3, 2018. That agreement, which was largely developed behind closed doors, grants Enbridge full decision-making power on how to proceed with their 65-year-old pipeline for the foreseeable future.
While the agreement implies that a tunnel is the preferred alternative for the Snyder administration, nothing in the agreement requires that Enbridge build the tunnel and stop operation of their vintage pipeline in the open waters of the Great Lakes. If Enbridge ultimately decides that the tunnel is not feasible due to cost, legal challenges, or engineering obstacles, they can continue to operate the 65-year-old Line 5 pipeline indefinitely. Due to these factors, the GLBN opposes the agreement and calls for immediate action to decommission the current pipelines.
GLBN tunnel position statement:
The 65-year-old Line 5 pipeline poses an immediate threat to our businesses, economy and way of life. Discussion of building a tunnel is a diversion from the key issues and simply kicks the can down the road. What we need are decision makers who take all necessary steps to quickly and efficiently decommission the Straits section of pipeline to protect our way of life. Independent studies have shown that Michigan is not dependent on Line 5 and that practical and immediate alternatives exist. Constructing a utility tunnel has not been properly vetted, would take significant time and resources to complete and should not be a factor in the decision to decommission the current pipeline as soon as possible.
Additionally, some members of the GLBN have personally expressed concern about Governor Snyder’s Enbridge deal:
“This is a hugely one-sided sweetheart deal in favor of Enbridge; in fact they could not have written a better plan for themselves. And Michigan continues to take all the risk for our Great Lakes.” – Bob Sutherland, president, Cherry Republic
“While we appreciate the governor’s efforts to find an alternative solution for shutting down Line 5, the reality is a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac does not accomplish the task for a number of reasons. At face value, building a tunnel might make sense to some, but the risks associated are still immense, the cost for the state after completion far too high, and seven to ten years to complete while still operating the compromised lines is unacceptable. We are not sure how this benefits the citizens of Michigan in any way.” – Rick Schmitt, Co-Owner, Stormcloud Brewing Company
“I was terribly disappointed to read the news that Governor Snyder and Enbridge have announced an agreement to build a tunnel. This agreement will not protect our waters; it only further jeopardizes our cherished Great Lakes. Enbridge hopes to have the tunnel built in 7 to 10 years – which seems highly optimistic – and in the meantime the aging pipeline remains on the lake bottom and every day the threat of a catastrophic oil spill remains!” – Beryl Skrocki, owner, Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak
“The governor’s plan to build a tunnel for a new pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac is laughably bad policy and a terrible deal for the citizens of Michigan. We need leaders who put the health and safety of our people, our environment, and our communities ahead of the interests of international corporations. Enbridge wants to continue to use Michigan as a shortcut for a pipeline that begins and ends in Canada. Line 5 crosses our pristine Upper Peninsula and the Great Lakes at two points. Our message to our northern neighbors ought to be clear and urgent – shut it down and go around. In a few short weeks Michiganders will have a the opportunity to elect new leaders and chart a new course for our future. I have confidence we will choose wisely.” – Noah Marshall-Rashid, co-owner American Spoon
“A tunnel is not a viable solution nor does it address the immediate risks posed by Line 5 to our Great Lakes. The sustainability of our businesses, communities and economy should be placed above the profits of one corporation.” – Kristi Avery, FOR Investment Partners
“If the aging Line 5 was to spill, the sport of scuba diving in the Great lakes would cease to exist. Line 5 needs to be shut down; I do not see how any other proposed solution removes the risk of a spill.” – Mike Poggione, Motor City Scuba
“Line 5 represents one of the greatest threats to our ag-tourism based economy in northern Michigan and beyond. Inspired leadership understands this and looks to the future. Every year we keep the pipeline in operation, in its current or new form, is thinking stuck in the oil spills of our past.” – Timothy Fitzgerald Young, Founder/President, Food for Thought
“It’s very simple for us: our business and family depends on clean water in the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Michigan, and its surrounding waterways. Without clean water to surf, kayak, and paddleboard in, our business cannot survive. There are too many risks involved with this pipeline as is, and as proposed; it needs to be shut down.” – Ryan Gerard, Third Coast Surf Shop
“It is necessary for businesses to be interested in preserving the integrity of our natural resources – including the beautiful Straits area – from a clear and present danger. The proposed plan for a tunnel under the Straits only sets up a delay in what so many in our state and business community have asked for: the decommissioning of the line. This agreement allows the pipeline to continue operation, thereby furthering the chances of a spill into waters that support and fund so many businesses and livelihoods. There are real dangers when drilling into the bedrock under the lakes – we most certainly think this is not a solution. We remain firmly behind a decommissioning of Line 5 – focus for the state should be on use of the alternative routes that already exist.” – Steve Nance, Oryana food co-op