Gretchen Whitmer’s Pipeline War – WSJ


The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline caused gasoline prices to skyrocket on the East Coast. But that doesn’t stop Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer from trying to shut down another crucial pipeline, regardless of the damage in the Midwest and Canada.

Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 transports more than half a million barrels per day of oil and natural gas liquids across Canada and the Great Lakes region. Late last year, Ms. Whitmer decided to revoke and end an easement that allows the pipeline to operate 4.5 miles across the Straits of Mackinac. She is seeking an injunction from a state court to force Enbridge to shut down Line 5 and “permanently decommission” the pipeline.

Ms. Whitmer says Enbridge has created an “unacceptable risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes that could devastate our economy and our way of life.” But the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the federal regulator that oversees Line 5, said in January that it “is not currently aware of any unsafe or unsafe conditions that would justify shutting down Line 5. . ”

No mode of energy transportation is risk-free, but pipelines are much safer than rail. Enbridge says that over two decades, Line 5 experienced five incidents that resulted in the release of 882 gallons of product. Compare that to the Lac-Mégantic disaster in 2013, where an oil-carrying train derailed, overturning some 1.6 million gallons and causing an explosion that killed 47 people.

Enbridge is applying for permits to construct a new pipeline to replace Line 5, but the project is years away from completion. Consumer Energy Alliance, an advocacy group, says closing Line 5 could lead to propane shortages in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Midwestern farmers could face rising diesel fuel costs and more again. A report by the group found that, even by conservative estimates, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana would lose more than 33,750 jobs and $ 265.7 million in annual tax revenue from the pipeline shutdown.


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