The US Army Corps of Engineers took public comment on Monday regarding Enbridge Energy’s request for a permit to build a tunnel to house the Line 5 pipeline under the straits of Mackinac.
Residents and various state business and environmental groups weighed in on the Line 5 Tunnel project.
As part of the process, the Army Corps will determine whether an additional environmental impact review of the project is necessary.
Katie Otanez is with the Army Corps. She said they’re aware of Governor Whitmer’s order to shut down the Line 5 pipeline.
“The Governor’s order did not terminate the state’s review of Enbridge’s application for the proposed pipeline tunnel and the Corps review will also continue,” she said. “We are considering how the order may affect our permit review.”
The Governor gave Enbridge Energy until May of 2021 to cease operating its pipelines.
Whitney Gravelle is an attorney for the Bay Mills Indian Community who spoke during the hearing.
“Given the risks and harm to species, economy, wetlands, economy, cultural resources, and most importantly tribal treaty rights which are the supreme law of the land, Line 5 is a pipeline that should be decommissioned as quickly as possible and a tunnel project that should not be granted a permit,” she said.
Michael Alaimo is with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which supports the project.
“The great lakes tunnel project will play a vital role in the process of job creation and energy security for years and decades to come,” he said. “We strongly support its construction.”
Kate Maddigan is the Director of the Michigan Climate Action Network. She said the permit should be denied.
“This project would exacerbate the negative climate impacts that Michigan is already experiencing including rapid changes to Great Lakes water levels, record flooding that has forced people to relocate, and increased pressure on infrastructure such as dams,” she said.
In a statement, Enbridge Energy said they’re happy their application is moving forward in a timely manner.
The state is also in the process of reviewing applications for the project.