Today, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that she will take action, on behalf of the people of Michigan, to protect the Great Lakes from Enbridge’s 66-year-old Line 5 pipeline. The attorney general seeks to stop the flow of oil through the Mackinac Straits by filing in the state circuit court to revoke the State of Michigan’s easement with Enbridge Energy. Governor Whitmer has not yet joined the attorney general’s lawsuit but has put out a statement that supports the attorney general’s filing, and orders the Department of Natural Resources to undertake a thorough review of violations with the Line 5 easement through the Straits of Mackinac. The governor and attorney general both have a clear duty to protect the Great Lakes on behalf of the citizens of Michigan, and both have individual authority to revoke the easement for Line 5.
Members of the Great Lakes Business Network applaud this move by Attorney General Nessel and continue to encourage Governor Whitmer to fully join the attorney general in her action to revoke the Enbridge easement.
The Great Lakes Business Network is a coalition of over 120 business leaders who help set the agenda for protecting the health and vitality of the Great Lakes while also protecting the economy, businesses, and communities that depend upon these globally rare waters. The Network advocates for decision makers to 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.
Network co-chair Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo responded to this news:
“An oil spill in the Straits would be a disaster to Michigan’s local businesses up and down the Great Lakes shore and beyond. Attorney General Nessel is standing up and doing what’s right for Michigan. I encourage the governor to work with the attorney general to end the easement for Line 5 to protect the clean, fresh water we all enjoy and need.”
Northern Michigan business leaders have been particularly concerned about the impact of an oil spill on their businesses, as well as on the local environment and tourist economy. Several of them commented today on the news:
“I enthusiastically applaud Attorney General Nessel for her bold leadership regarding decommissioning Line 5. Lake Michigan is so incredibly vital to the people and economy of Northern Michigan! Governor Whitmer must keep her campaign promise and put the welfare of our Great Lakes above an unreliable Canadian oil company.” — Beryl Skrocki, owner, Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak, Empire
“Attorney General Nessel is doing what is right for Michigan citizens and businesses. It’s clear that Enbridge is willing to put the people of Michigan at risk of environmental and economic that Enbridge is willing to put the people of Michigan at risk of environmental and economic disaster while demanding accommodations to build a tunnel that Michigan neither wants nor needs. It’s time we invest in clean, renewable energy infrastructure across our state rather than pretend it’s in Michigan’s long-term interest to serve as a short cut for Canadian oil and gas.” — Noah Marshall-Rashid, co-owner, American Spoon, Petoskey
“Attorney General Nessel has upheld her campaign commitment to protect the critical natural resources of the Great Lakes and the Michigan blue economy that is dependent on these pristine bodies of water. I am hopeful that Governor Whitmer will continue with her campaign commitments to protect the Great Lakes, ensure that our fresh drinking water is protected, and support the agricultural, hospitality, recreational and fisheries that will be critically impacted by the continued risk Line 5 poses to all Michiganders. Comprehensive Studies have been completed, there are suitable alternatives for energy to support our citizens, industries and their workforces. We must protect the key water resources that have made Northern Michigan a global destination and economic engine for our state. Now is the time to ensure Pure Michigan is a reality, not just an ad campaign.” — Richard Bergmann, owner of Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company and Round Lake Group LLC in Charlevoix
“Line 5 is no longer in suitable condition to be running through the straits of Mackinac. Putting our faith in a company that is willing to allow this old damaged line to be used is simply immoral. Our company depends 100% on clean and safe water in the Great Lakes region and Line 5 is a direct threat to that. We voted for Whitmer based on her promise to decommission Line 5 and that is exactly what we expect her to do.” — Keegan Myers of M-22 in Glen Arbor and Traverse City