Antrim County Commissioners give one-sided argument to Line 5 resolution

Note: This article was originally published in The Review, in Antrim County, MI.

Recently, the Antrim County Board of Commissioners invited Enbridge Energy to give a presentation on its Line 5 pipeline.

The county board did not invite the Great Lakes Business Network to speak on this issue – or anyone else – instead opting for a last-minute resolution expressing commissioners’ support for this aging infrastructure below the Straits of Mackinac.

Written in the resolution it states, “Antrim County sends this resolution to all counties of Michigan as an invitation to join…”

While the resolution has no real-world enforcement, it shows Antrim County is willing to do the bidding of Enbridge Energy without hearing from those who might have other thoughts.

As a member of the Great Lakes Business Network, I object to this resolution and I am not alone.

The simple truth is that the time for Line 5 has passed. This 68-year-old pipeline, which has been subject to anchor strikes and hazardous weather conditions, is a threat to our Great Lakes every day it stays below the water – with or without a tunnel around it.

Enbridge Energy has not been forthright and transparent when the pipeline has been damaged. It continues to prioritize profit over what is truly in the best interest of our Great Lakes and the communities and businesses that dot the shoreline.

The devastation from an oil spill would wreak havoc on our main source of clean drinking water, our fisheries and wildlife, and thousands of small businesses. Our “Pure Michigan” way of life would be shattered.

Does Enbridge’s corporate profits take this into consideration? Probably not, which is why they think a tunnel that would disturb our waters further is the next logical step instead of simply removing this dangerous pipeline from beneath the Straits.

My brewery prioritizes stewardship of our Great Lakes because water is more than just one of the key ingredients in beer. It’s our greatest natural resource and fresh, clean water is a privilege.

As we transition to more clean, renewable energy, encasing an oil pipeline in a tunnel beneath our water makes less and less sense with each passing day.

I urge the Antrim County Board of Commissioners to reconsider its resolution and hear from other voices in our community.

Joe Short is the founder and CEO of Short’s Brewing Company in Bellaire and a member of the Great Lakes Business Network.