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Line 5 report: Canada gains, Michigan gets little

Flickr User Doug Kerr

A new report argues that Line 5, the twin oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac, threatens Michigan’s environment and economy, and does little else.

“They’re banking on the fact that we’ll continue to risk our Straits of Mackinac so they can move their oil through our Great Lakes over to their own country. It’s a really bad deal. We are taking the risk while they are taking the profit.”

That voice there is Jim Lively. He’s the program director the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Traverse City.

The nonprofit issued a report that found while Michigan absorbs all of the risk involved in moving the nearly 24 million gallons of oil and petroleum daily through Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, Canada gains financially.

Lively says, not only is it a bad business deal, if the pipelines did break, it’s Michigan that would suffer both financially and ecologically. Only one solution remains: shut down Line 5 before it’s too late.

“And that is what we essentially talking to our governor and to gubernatorial candidates, that that is the best course of action.”

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder told news outlets while visiting Mackinac Island that Line 5 should be decommissioned, but was unclear as to how or when.

“One of the things that Gov. Snyder is talking about though is replacing it with another pipeline in a tunnel under the straits. And frankly why would be considering digging a tunnel under our straits when it only benefits Canada?”

Meanwhile, Lively points out, Enbridge, the company that owns Line 5, has tried in the past to get an oil pipeline that simply runs through Canada. He says residents, nervous about the potential dangers of an oil spill in Canadian waters have influenced lawmakers to reject the idea.