Amid Newly Surfaced Easement Violations, Great Lakes Business Leaders Call for a Shut Down of Line 5

Amid Newly Surfaced Easement Violations, Great Lakes Business Leaders Call for a Shut Down of Line 5

For immediate release – November 1st, 2019

Contact: Jim Lively, Program Director for the Great Lakes Business Network: 231.360.7222

Yesterday, the Court of Claims announced a decision allowing backroom lame-duck legislation to stand and deals around Line 5—deals made with the Snyder administration to tie the hands of the current administration—to proceed. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Governor Gretchen Whitmer have both said they will appeal that decision. Nessel noted that she “always anticipated that this matter would be resolved in the appellate courts, and we are more resolved than ever to continue this fight on behalf of the people of Michigan.”

The attorney general also released a bombshell report, researched by state agencies, which determined that Enbridge lacks appropriate liability insurance to pay for a spill cleanup in the Great Lakes, and that Michigan taxpayers could be on the hook for any significant spill that results from the nearly 70-year-old oil pipeline. The lack of insurance is yet another clear and direct violation of Enbridge’s easement with the state and another example of Enbridge misleading decision makers and the public.

The Great Lakes Business Network, which has more than 130 members and originally formed in response to business concerns about the risk of an oil spill at the Straits, stands ready to support the attorney general and governor in their legal effort to immediately remove the dangerous oil pipelines from the Great Lakes. Business leaders expressed disappointment about the Court of Claims ruling but continue to express their commitment to protect the Great Lakes. 

“We are disappointed with the Court of Claims ruling deeming the Line 5 tunnel legislation as constitutional. After repeated violations of the easement by Enbridge, and the hasty manner in which the Snyder administration pushed this through at the end of their term, this decision is clearly not in the best interest of the citizens and businesses of Michigan,” explained Peter Laing, with Mawby Vineyards and Winery and Great Lakes Business Network Executive Committee member. “We support Attorney General Nessel’s efforts to continue to fight for the protection of our livelihoods from Enbridge and its risky oil pipeline.”

“The state of Michigan’s new report shows that Enbridge has misled decision makers again and is in clear violation of the easement due to not being properly insured for any spill from Line 5 in the Great Lakes, which could put Michigan taxpayers on the hook for clean-up,” said Walker Modic, Environmental & Social Sustainability Manager for Bell’s Brewery and Great Lakes Business Network executive committee member. “Additionally, the Snyder agreements and the lame duck legislation don’t require a firm date for Line 5 to be shut down in the open waters of the Great Lakes and provide Enbridge full decision-making power at a time when their word can’t be trusted. We encourage the governor to stand with the attorney general in her effort to dissolve the easement. Enbridge cannot be trusted to operate this pipeline safely, and they continue to prove they are not acting in good faith.”

Bob Sutherland, owner and president of Cherry Republic, based in Glen Arbor, also voiced his concern: “It has been proven time and time again that Line 5 is not critical infrastructure for Michigan, and alternatives for the small amount of product we use are achievable in short order, so why are we allowing this Canadian company to use the Great Lakes as a shortcut? Protecting our Great Lakes and advancing a clean energy economy should be the top priority for Michigan lawmakers. Instead we are still addressing this rushed lame duck handout to a Canadian corporation. 

“It’s hard to understand why state decision makers continue to back this Canadian company that is risking our drinking water and billions of dollars in economic value that the Great Lakes provide to Michigan. The lame-duck legislation gives Enbridge all decision-making power at a time when they have yet to provide required insurance for any spill in the Great Lakes and continue to mislead decision makers at every turn,” said Noah Marshall-Rashid, co-owner of American Spoon Foods and executive committee member for the Great Lakes Business Network.