UPDATE: “Approving the new tunnel in northern Michigan is the right thing to do for our state, our waterways, and for our future. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on the line to heat their homes and survive, and we all rely on the Great Lakes for our economy and our way of life. It is well past time to put aside political talking points and campaign rhetoric and just do the right thing. This administration needs to protect the people of our state, secure our critical Mackinac Straits and approve the tunnel project immediately,” said Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield in a statement released following the attorney general’s opinion on Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority.
UPDATE: Reaction came quick on the official opinion regarding the Michigan attorney general’s recent opinion declaring the newly created Line 5 Tunnel Authority unconstitutional.
Rep. Triston Cole released a statement saying “This is an opinion that hits rural Northern Michigan families the hardest. Construction of a $500 million multi-use utility tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac meant good-paying jobs for Northern Michigan workers. It would have lowered their out-of-control energy rates. Now, this flimsy legal opinion has endangered those jobs and the rate relief needed by rural families.
The statement goes on to say “to suggest that lawmakers weren’t clear on the details of the plan they voted for last December is outrageous. This plan was put forward after months of debate, public testimony and rigorous investigation. There were few issues discussed more publicly than constructing a tunnel for Line 5.”
Cole added, “I will not allow the well-being of hardworking Michiganders to be put in jeopardy while the attorney general splits legal hairs for political brownie points. This is more of the same blatant disregard for the needs of Michigan families outside of the state’s major cities. I will not stand for it. I will defend jobs and rate relief for Northern Michigan families.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Attorney General Dana Nessel says that parts of the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority Law violate the Michigan Constitution.
The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority Law or Public Act 359 would transfer the authority of a utility tunnel from the Mackinac Bridge Authority to the Straits Corridor Authority.
Specifically the Attorney General’s formal opinion was against the provision in the law that required the Straits Corridor Authority to enter into a utility tunnel construction agreement if it was presented on a specific date and met certain criteria.
The Attorney General concluded that because its provisions go beyond the scope of what was disclosed in its title, Act 359 violated the Title-Object Clause in the Michigan Constitution.
The Attorney General also noted that “any court determination that Act 359 is unconstitutional would likely apply that decision retroactively”