On a conference call Wednesday, Environmental, Tribal, and Business groups said “it’s decision time” for Governor Whitmer on the Line 5 Pipeline.
The group called on the Governor to follow through on her campaign promises to shut down the pipeline permanently.
Organizers of the event point to numerous violations of Enbridge’s 1953 easement with the state and repeated strikes on Line 5 as reasons to shut it down.
Attorney General Dana Nessel has called for the easement to be revoked as recently as this June, citing similar concerns about violations and uncertainty around the pipeline’s safety.
Enbridge has long maintained that the pipeline is safe.
The Michigan Public Service Commission is expected to hold a public hearing on Enbridge’s proposed plan to move the pipeline into a tunnel on August 24th.
Rich Bergman is with the Round Lake Group, which operates taprooms in Northern Michigan. He said there is an urgency to get the line shut down because if the tunnel project is approved it could leave the line operating indefinitely.
“We think there is a tactic here to continue to operate Line 5 in the long run that this will take with permitting, review, all these processes.”
Enbridge has said it could complete the tunnel project by 2024 but Bergman said completing a project of that size in that timeframe seems unlikely.
Mike Schriberg is a spokesperson for the National Wildlife Service. He said the Governor has all the evidence and authority she needs to shut down the pipeline.
“You’re hearing a strong pitch from the conservation community, the business community, and the tribal community for her to take action on the easement,” Shriberg said. “It’s coming to decision time for the governor is part of the urgency of this call.”
Bryan Newland, President of the Bay Mills Indian Community, said the Governor has changed her language around the line - suggesting she may have changed her position on Enbridge’s proposed tunnel project.
“This Governor did not pledge to remove the pipeline from the water. She pledged to shut down Line 5.”
The Governor’s Office did not respond to our request for comment.