Battle over Line 5 continues amid new report

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— The battle over Line 5 continues amid a new report released from Consumers Energy Alliance.

The report details how shutting down Line 5 could potentially harm Michigan’s economy. However, other groups in Michigan say parts of the new report could be misleading.

“From the dynamic risk of shutting down Line 5, we’re looking at a $120 million increase in transportation fuel cost alone just in Michigan,” said Chris Ventura, Midwest Executive Director for Consumer Energy Alliance.

He says the report estimates:

“$20.8 billion of loss in economic activity, $2.36 billion of loss labor earnings, whether that’s wages or salaries for people employed in these states, and over 33,000 jobs lost.”

The report says if Line 5 closes, gas prices will increase and local farmers will have to find an alternate way to get their fertilizers and feedstock, which are carried by Line 5.

“Detroit’s airport for example, over 54% of the jet fuel that they use to fill all of the jets is derived from Line 5, and when Line 5 is shut down one of the big questions is how is DTW going to replace that source of jet fuel,” said Ventura

“Airlines are going to be provided with limited options. One, they can raise ticket prices, and two, they can actually reduce flights and cut routes out of DTW.”

“There have been several reports that have said throughout the years that the risk to the Great Lakes and our economy far outweighs the risk of shutting down, and potential job impacts,” said Beth Wallace, the Great Lakers Campaign Manager for the National Wildlife Federation.

“And again I say potential because this is not Enbridge’s product, they’re just the transporter and that product will find its way to market.”

“[The report] is so misleading, and in the last few months we’ve seen Enbridge spend millions of dollars in the state of Michigan alone,” she said.

“Line 5 didn’t start delivering propane to the UP until 1996, before that it came via rai,l or truck or other sources, and we’re already hearing again that the suppliers have found alternative sources and are anticipating a shutdown.”

She says the Great Lakes are a source of fresh drinking water for Michiganders, and if Line 5 continues to function, the worst case scenario could be:

“The straits of Mackinac in particular where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet, if there were a rupture in that five-mile stretch it would mean that over 700 miles of shoreline are at risk from oil contamination, fresh drinking water’s cut off, that economy is gone for years and many of those communities are exposed to really horrible chemicals risking health.”

Ventura disagrees.

“You’ve got the safest and most environmentally friendly way of transporting crude oil and natural gas liquids pipelines being made even safer making sure that it’s way under the lakebed, and that reduces the chance of any type of incident happening,” he said.

Line 5 is expected to be shut down this week, per the Governor.

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