According to the advocacy group Oil and Water Don’t Mix, “nearly 23 million gallons of oil flow through two aging pipelines in the heart of the Great Lakes, just west of the Mackinac Bridge. Known as “Line 5”, these dilapidated pipes have spilled 1.1 million gallons of oil since 1968.
While Michiganders have been pressing for the pipes to be decommissioned before an inevitable environmental disaster happens, Enbridge – the fossil fuel company that owns the pipeline – has been actively purchasing support for a new tunnel that would be built to support Line 5.
A recent investigation by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network shows that Enbridge has invested $63,000 in paid sponsorships and ads with the Michigan Association of Counties, $105,728 at the state level in Michigan, and has purchased full-page ads in news media outlets “who in exchange for Enbridge’s money repeat Enbridge’s messages, often multiple times a day.”
In other words, Enbridge is actively lobbying local and state officials to support the tunnel project to protect the pipeline in perpetuity.
For example, “according to emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, certain Grand Traverse County commissioners had been discussing the resolution for weeks” before they approved a resolution on August 21st to support Enbridge’s tunnel project, in spite of 53 members of the community speaking against the resolution. (See here and here.) These backdoor discussions – if proven – would clearly constitute a violation of the Open Meetings Act.
Enbridge has an endless well of money and is using it to spread its influence to our Michigan legislators, county commissions and chambers of commerce, in a campaign of false information regarding propane usage in Michigan and UP. Every citizen of our state should be up in arms that their elected officials are caving to the influence of a foreign fossil fuel company whose record of safety regarding its oil and gas pipelines has proven that they are an unreliable partner in ensuring that Michigan’s precious water resources (and the Great Lakes in general) are protected from a major oil spill.
There is impending legislation in the Michigan House that supports the Line 5 Tunnel, and according to Oil & Water Don’t Mix, a number of downstate Democratic representatives are poised to support the resolution:
- Donna Lasinski, DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov, (517) 373-0828
- Sarah Anthony, email@example.com, (517) 373-0826
- Angela Witwer, AngelaWitwer@house.mi.gov, (517)-373-0853
- Kara Hope, KaraHope@house.mi.gov, (517)-373-0587
- Tenisha Yancey, firstname.lastname@example.org, (517) 373-0154
- Joe Tate, JoeTate@house.mi.gov, (517)-373-1776
- Rachel Hood, RachelHood@house.mi.gov, (517)-373-0822
- Vanessa Guerra, VanessaGuerra@house.mi.gov, (517) 373-0152
- Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, email@example.com, (517) 373-3815
- LaTanya Garrett, LaTanyaGarrett@house.mi.gov, (517) 373-2276
- Karen Whitsett, KarenWhitsett@house.mi.gov, (517) 373-6990
Indivisible groups here on the Grand Traverse level are urging downstate Indivisible members to call and email these legislators in their districts, as well as the House Minority Leader Christine Greig at firstname.lastname@example.org, (517) 373-1793, and Governor Whitmer, at (517) 373-3400, in an effort to hold the Democratic caucus together and vote against the bill should it be introduced. If the bill passes with more than 14 Democrats supporting, it would make it very hard for Governor Whitmer to continue to work toward getting Line 5 decommissioned.
“Shut down Line 5 immediately. The pipeline is a daily threat to the Great Lakes and hundreds of other water bodies it crosses. It’s your job to protect citizens from bad actors like Enbridge. Any support for a tunnel is support for keeping Line 5 open. Water is Life, protect Michiganders and shut down Line 5.”