In the Straits of Mackinac, there is a 65 year old, ever present threat to the water of over 40 million people - and it’s called Line 5
Many don't know there are 2 Canadian oil pipelines in our Great Lakes called Line 5. Here's what's most important to know about it:
Line 5 is an oil pipeline which carries up to 22 ½ million gallons of light crude oil and other petroleum products through the very vulnerable stretch of water in the Straits of Mackinac every day, 24/7. Most of this oil - 90-95%? - returns to Canada for export. Michigan does not need Line 5. What propane Michigan uses is easily replaced for very little cost. Therefore, shutting Line 5 down completely is very doable. This independent study published in September 2018 shows the alternatives for Michigan businesses and consumers. As Pipeline Safety Advisory Board member Mike Shriberg says so well, “While there are substitutes for Line 5, there are no alternatives for the Great Lakes and our way of life”.
For almost 5 miles, Line 5 becomes two 20-inch oil pipelines which run under the water only ¼ mile west of the Mackinac Bridge. This is the "worst place in the Great Lakes for an oil spill", according to Dave Schwab who has been studying water and currents for decades. Even a small spill would likely impact 37 miles of shoreline. A large one could impact 722 miles of shoreline. Here is video to show you the worst case scenario.
A contractor for the Coast Guard estimates that a clean up of 30% of an oil spill here would be the best case scenario. This assumes there is daylight and waves of less than 3 feet, an no ice as they are not fully prepared to handle an open water spill when the Straits are iced-over.
None of this changes with a tunnel.
Obviously, an oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac would be bad for our water. An oil spill could also devastate our economy. In less than 3 hours, a spill of 2,500,000 gallons (10% of what Line 5's daily capacity is), could reel a $6 billion blow to Michigan's economy. In addition to our drinking water and our economy, the 3,500 species which have habitats in the Great Lakes area would be impacted, too. It took Enbridge 17 hours to shut off the oil in Kalamazoo, so 3 hours to shut off Line 5 is a conservative estimate.
An oil spill would directly jeopardize the long term economy in the Great Lakes. Within 6 weeks of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf, hotel cancellations were at 60%. Even areas which did not have ANY oil pollution at all experienced significant drops in tourism.
Which beach do you prefer?
Line 5 puts our water, jobs, and quality of life in the Great Lakes at risk, every moment it operates. You can easily do something about it - without making a donation or getting on another email list!
Please call both Attorney General Schuette (517) 373-1110 or Governor Snyder (517) 373-3400 and tell them to completely shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac (no oil, no tunnel). They get weekly summaries of why people call, so your calling frequently does help, especially in an election year where government should be listening more closely. The information below is linked to the source documents, so click on the highlights for more detail.