NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority introduces new Whitmer appointees

Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority
The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority introduced two new Whitmer-appointed members at the March 3 meeting: Kimberly Webb (left) and Andrew Doctoroff (right). Paul Novak (center) is a returning member and presided over the meeting.

The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) met Friday to hear updates on Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 tunnel. The meeting was marked by the presence of two new members, who’ve shifted the MSCA away from a Republican majority.

Opponents to the Line 5 tunnel have called the MSCA a “rubber stamp” for Enbridge. But now, all three members are Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s appointees. Tunnel opponents are hopeful for a change in direction, who say the previous board skewed “pro-tunnel” and had "little interest" in oversight or transparency.

Andrew Doctoroff is a new member of the Authority. He said he wants to ensure the board’s oversight is not simply a “perfunctory box-checking role.”

“This mega-infrastructure project is extraordinarily complicated and has a huge impact on the health, welfare and safety of Michigan..." Doctoroff said. "Oversight has to be meaningful - it can't be faith based.”

After a presentation from the state’s hired tunnel expert, members questioned his bias, the state’s contract with Enbridge, and the process for approving proposals.

Sean McBrearty is with Oil and Water Don’t Mix. During public comment, he asked the MSCA to consider hearing from organizations besides Enbridge at their meetings. He said it’s a request the previous board ignored.

“I hope this board will take that request seriously," McBrearty said. "If they’re really interested in providing oversight, they should be hearing from independent experts, community organizations, and they ought to definitely be hearing from Michigan’s tribes.”

An Enbridge spokesperson said the company will continue to work with the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority to advance the tunnel project.

Enbridge is currently reviewing three tunnel contractor bids, but the tunnel still needs a federal permit before it can be built.

For the full meeting recording, visit the Michigan Department of Transportation YouTube channel.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corp Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She is covering rural environmental issues, public health and Michigan commerce. Homsi has a bachelor’s from Central Michigan University in environmental studies, journalism and anthropology. During her undergraduate, she was a beat reporter for CMU’s student newspaper Central Michigan Life and interned for the Huron Daily Tribune. She has also interned for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy in the superfund section. *Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms, more info at
Related Content