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  • Writer's pictureNorthville Democratic Club


The Northville Dems voted to support Attorney General Dana Nessel's lawsuit to decommission Line 5 at the August 26, 2019 Northville Democratic Club meeting.

On June 27, 2019 Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit to decommission Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 – a twin pipeline that carries 20 million gallons of crude oil per day under the Straits of Mackinac. This lawsuit is confirmation of her dedication to protect our Great Lakes.

A rupture of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac could release 1,344,00 to 2,436,000 barrels of crude oil into the Great Lakes and pollute more than 400 miles of shoreline in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario. Depending on the timing and magnitude of a spill, 47 wildlife species of concern and 60,000 acres of unique habitat could be at risk. A statecommissioned independent analysis calculated clean-up, restoration and liability costs from the defined worst-case scenario at almost $2 billion. Michigan’s economy would lose $6.3 billion when a significant break occurs.

You may have wondered when Line 5 would be shut down as promised throughout the campaign season. Attorney General Nessel explained, “I wanted to give Governor Whitmer time to reach an agreement which would get the pipelines out of the Straits on an expedited basis.” On June 19th, Enbridge walked away from negotiations and sued Governor Whitmer to allow continued use of Line 5.

Enbridge, a private Canadian oil company, has very deep pockets and wants its oil to continue moving through the ticking time bomb that is Line 5. Every day, Enbridge profits from sending oil through Michigan to supply the Canadian energy market. Every day, Line 5 endangers the Great Lakes and Michigan’s economy. Enbridge is conducting an intensive lobbying program to continue its dirty business as usual.

We urge you to demand all of our elected officials and Democratic Party officials not to buckle under pressure from a foreign corporation, outside organizations, and other special-interest groups. Our elected officials should be encouraged to continue to fulfill their Constitutional duty to protect Michigan’s natural resources.


FACT: Enbridge Line 5 moves approximately 20 million gallons of crude oil through the churning waters of the Straits of Mackinac every day, through two 66-year-old poorly maintained pipes. The washing machine effect of the currents in the Straits would send a massive oil spill throughout most of the Great Lakes, which comprises 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. Enbridge is responsible for the two largest inland oil pipeline spills in the United States, including one into the Kalamazoo River. Line 5 has in fact already failed 33 times since 1968, spilling over a million gallons of crude oil.

FACT: Enbridge Line 5 is NOT a critical component of Michigan’s infrastructure. Line 5 is a convenient shortcut for Enbridge to transport crude oil from Western Canada to Ontario, Canada. Less than 5 percent of the products carried by Line 5 are used in Michigan. The shutdown of Line 5 would not drastically affect the distribution of natural gas liquids, including propane, to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Available capacity to meet energy demands in the Great Lakes region already exists in the North American pipeline system, with increased propane delivery to the UP by Plains All American.

FACT: Michigan’s environment and economy would be devastated by a Line 5 oil spill. 1.5 million jobs are directly tied to the Great Lakes and the total economic impact of a spill would be over 5 billion dollars. A study by Michigan State University ecological economist Robert Richardson estimates Michigan’s economy would lose $6.3 billion if there is a significant oil pipeline break in the Straits of Mackinac.

FACT: A study of the currents in the Straits of Mackinac concluded that certain sections of Line 5 may be only one “peak current” event away from catastrophic failure

ON BEHALF of the hard-working grassroots activists which form the heart and soul of local Democratic Clubs, we thank Attorney General Nessel for taking action to shut down Line 5, and we thank Governor Whitmer for her promise to do the same. We stand with Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel and will continue to support them as environmental leaders.




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