NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New report says economic impacts of Line 5 shutdown would be minor

Line 5 marker in front of the Mackinac Straits
Teresa Homsi
A pipeline marker for Line 5 stands in front of the northern side of the Straits of Mackinac. In the background, the Mackinac Bridge is obscured by clouds.

A new economic report suggests that a Line 5 shutdown wouldn't have a significant impact on supply chains or fuel prices.

The study, developed by PLG Consulting, evaluates the anticipated market response of a Line 5 shutdown and looks at the available alternatives in the region for crude oil and propane.

The report says, "with sufficient notice of a shutdown, Line 5 area products and markets will adapt without supply shortages or extreme price spikes."

The study is not the first of its kind to suggest the economic impacts of a shutdown would be negligible.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is supporting a Wisconsin tribe's lawsuit against Enbridge, praised the report. In a statement, she said it confirms that Enbridge has pushed false claims on the economic importance of Line 5.

"The truth is that Enbridge and the companies that receive oil and gas from Line 5 have had ample time to prepare contingency plans," Nessel said. "The failure to do so would be professional malpractice.”

An Enbridge spokesperson said the report's recommendations "defy common sense" and endanger the environment by suggesting oil tankers and rail cars should replace the pipeline.

"There are currently no alternatives to deliver the entirety of energy that Line 5 transports," Ryan Duffy wrote in an email to WCMU. "Adding additional rail or marine vessel capacity is not only bad for the environment and our climate, but will take years, if not decades, to develop, permit and build."

The company says its proposed tunnel project is the best solution in meeting energy demands and protecting the Straits of Mackinac.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.
Related Content