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Emails raise questions about relationship between state, Enbridge

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

A new report raises questions about the relationship between Enbridge Energy and the state of Michigan

For the report, Bridge Magazine and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network reviewed over 57-hundred emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Craig Mauger is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

“We found a handful of connections between one, people tied to Enbridge and the state’s deliberations about what to do about line 5 and two, connections between people who are in the lobbying or consulting business who are connected to outside entities having a large role in this as well.”

Mauger said in one instance state officials worked with Enbridge on a press release regarding increasing pipeline safety - he said fact-checking of itself may not be unusual.

“People on the other side who see this as more problematic say letting them fact check a press release with them is one thing but sharing talking points with them, sharing the media list for the phone call with them, that’s more unusual.”

A spokesperson for the Governor’s office said of the emails between state and Enbridge officials quote “When two parties reach an agreement on an issue, it is not uncommon to mutually review materials being shared publicly to ensure accuracy from both sides.”

A spokesperson for Enbridge said of the emails quote “The November 2017 agreement between the State of Michigan and Enbridge has produced information which will be useful in determining the future of Line 5 at the Straits and in continuing to find ways to enhance environmental protection without compromising the safe, reliable delivery of the energy on which Michigan families and businesses rely.”

Mauger said Enbridge’s Michigan lobbying firm employs the wife of Snyder’s former chief of staff and the former communications director for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

He said the relationships and emails aren’t clear cases of conflicts of interest - but do raise questions about whether they could be having an impact on decisions regarding Line 5.