Voices of support: Line 5 Straits tunnel
Enbridge stands ready to build an underground tunnel to house Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac.
Through a series of agreements with the State of Michigan, we committed to develop and build this tunnel beneath the Straits—a $500-million private investment in Michigan—while ensuring the safe operation of the existing dual lines at the Straits until the replacement line is complete.
We believe our Line 5 Straits tunnel plan is the best way to ensure continued energy supply in Michigan, and avoid major disruptions and price increases that would result if Line 5 were shut down prior to completion of the tunnel.
We’re not alone. Public support for our Line 5 tunnel plan has come from elected officials, policy experts, business owners, business leaders and media columnists—from Michigan and elsewhere.
See below for a sampling of their comments.
Nov. 19, 2020
"Line 5 in its current form could disappear from the lakes as soon as 2024 if Whitmer would honor the deal the state made with Enbridge build the tunnel. Continuing to fight this sensible solution prolongs the timeframe and increases the risk to the Great Lakes."
—Detroit News editorial
Nov. 18, 2020
"We have to quit obstructing these hard workers—I have full faith that Enbridge will keep the line safe while moving forward with a modernized tunnel buried beneath the earth’s surface."
—Michigan State Rep. Michele Hoitenga
Nov. 17, 2020
"The Governor’s actions to shut down Line 5 will trigger a propane shortage in the Upper Peninsula; 300,000 Michiganders live in the Upper Peninsula, and depend on propane to heat their homes. . . . This is a direct effort to cancel building the Great Lakes Tunnel. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of construction jobs, mostly union construction jobs, will be lost. Potentially thousands and thousands of jobs in Michigan’s energy industry will be lost. And that’s without considering . . . that there is no alternative to Line 5.
"The question for the Governor and Dana Nessel today is, in addition to a propane shortage for UPers, what option are you in favor of? Oil barges on the Great Lakes? Miles and miles and miles of trains pulling tanker cars . . . that don’t exist in that quantity today? Or are they in favor of an endless convoy of tanker trucks over the Mackinac Bridge? A truly stunning development."
—Rich Studley, Michigan Chamber of Commerce president
and CEO, on the Steve Gruber Show
Oct. 4, 2020
"The time for fighting about the Tunnel project needs to be over. We should embrace significant infrastructure investments that don’t cost taxpayers a dime. The Great Lakes Tunnel is what is best for Michigan families, workers and our economic future. That’s why Republicans and Democrats support it. It’s why business groups like SBAM stand arm in arm with labor unions to back construction."
—Brian Calley, former Michigan Lt. Governor
and current president, Small Business Association of Michigan
Sept. 8, 2020
"Without energy from Line 5, the energy that Michigan residents and businesses rely on would be much more difficult to obtain and much more costly, as well. Cutting off this essential energy supply would be devastating to Michigan’s economy, and that includes Michigan’s gas stations and convenience stores. We don’t do ourselves any favors if we aren’t honest about the challenges the state will face without the Great Lakes Tunnel."
—Mark Griffin, President of Michigan Petroleum Association
and Michigan Association of Convenience Stores
Aug. 29, 2020
"The tunnel would house a replacement segment of Line 5 deep below the lakebed in the Straits. This would increase safe operation of Line 5 and virtually eliminate risk of a spill. It also would enable Line 5 to continue to provide us the energy and fuel on which we rely every day. There is only one solution: Build the Great Lakes Tunnel."
—Geno Alessandrini, business manager,
Laborers' Local 1329, Iron Mountain, MI
Aug. 27, 2020
"Taking Line 5 and burying it far below the lakebed will ensure that this essential energy source (propane) is safe to use for the foreseeable future. We must utilize long-term solutions to protect Line 5 because it meets 55 percent of our state’s propane needs. If we were to face a Line 5 closure, it would be impossible to find a good alternative, especially not an affordable one. Our economy would be devastated, and families would be left scrambling. That is the last thing anyone wants."
—Grand Blanc's David Lowe, former propane company owner
and current consultant to Michigan's propane industry
July 21, 2020
"If someone is truly an environmentalist, how can they look at me and tell me: “Joe, 2,000 trucks a day—the amount it would take to transport the liquid in the pipeline now—is more environmentally friendly than a pipeline buried 100 feet below the lake bed, in bed rock.” How can that be safer? Not to mention, we don’t have enough truck drivers to do that, even if we wanted."
—Michigan State Rep. Joe Bellino
July 13, 2020
"Despite the many safety measures built into the pipeline and assurance it will continue to be closely monitored, environmental extremists like Attorney General Dana Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continue to spread misinformation about the project. Fact: Shutting down Line 5 would require an additional 2,000 trucks a day on Michigan roads to transport the liquid in the pipeline now. This would be much more dangerous for our environment, yet where is the uproar from those who claim to protect the environment?"
—Second-term Michigan State Rep. Daire Rendon, who represents
Missaukee, Crawford, Kalkaska, Roscommon and Ogemaw counties
July 6, 2020
"The courts have said—repeatedly—that the Tunnel project can move forward. Republicans and Democrats across the state back it. Michigan communities are counting on it. Workers, families, and conservationists are asking for it. Now it’s time to take the next step, and to end the stall tactics. Our communities agree. Building the Great Lakes Tunnel just makes sense."
—Amy Clickner, CEO, Lake Superior Community Partnership
and Jim Holcomb, senior executive VP, Michigan Chamber of Commerce
June 29, 2020
"Michigan faces a difficult road back from the economic devastation caused by the extended COVID-19 shutdowns. It should not make the task more challenging by driving up the cost of energy. That’s bound to happen if Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel prevail in keeping the Line 5 petroleum pipeline out of service."
—Detroit News editorial
March 11, 2020
"Michigan is one of the largest consumers of propane used for residential winter heating in the country, especially in the Upper Peninsula, and the closure of Line 5 would have an immediate and crippling effect on the economy as prices skyrocket. Small business would be among the first to suffer the consequences of such a short-sighted action."
—Charles Owens, Michigan director of the
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
Feb. 16, 2020
“It’s a project that means safer lakes, reliable energy, and more high-wage jobs. . . . The time for action is now. Let’s support Michigan workers, stand with labor, end the stall tactics, and build the Great Lakes tunnel.”
—Geno Alessandrini, business manager, Michigan Laborers District Council
and Michael Aaron, business manager, Laborers Local 1191
Jan. 10, 2020
“It is time to work collaboratively and complete this critical project. Democrats and Republicans support the Great Lakes Tunnel. Business and labor does, too. And because it impacts the entire state of Michigan, Yoopers support it as do Detroiters. The Great Lakes Tunnel plan makes sense for Michigan.”
—Amy Clickner, CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership
Nov. 4, 2019
“Michigan should honor the law it passed. If Whitmer and Nessel believe the law requires revising, the appropriate response is to return to the Legislature and negotiate. But unilaterally rejecting enacted legislation because a new governor and attorney general oppose it sends a terrible message that this is a state governed by political whim rather than the rule of law.”
—Radio host and Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley
Oct. 23, 2019
“Efforts by some to shut down the pipeline have thrown our energy and economic security into doubt . . . it is not reasonable to cut off a significant part of our energy supply and stop what could be one of Michigan’s most significant infrastructure projects since the Mackinac Bridge—a project that would actually protect our environment while also protecting family budgets and our economy.”
—Mike Cox, Michigan's Attorney General from 2003 through 2011
Oct. 22, 2019
“Without the tunnel project, our local communities would also lose tens of millions in local tax revenue. The pipeline it will house generates property taxes, sales and use taxes, and income taxes. That means investment we rely on for our local schools, our local roads, and our local services. In fact, in many communities, it’s the single largest taxpayer.”
—Joe Bonovetz, a Gogebic County commissioner, and Grand Traverse County Commission chairman Rob Hentschel
Sept. 18, 2019
“To move this quantity of crude over this distance by rail or truck would be so costly, so detrimental to the environment, damaging to our infrastructure, and so dangerous, that a pipeline is the only logical solution. Proposing that it be shut down is reckless and irresponsible. Dana Nessel has either been totally inept at gathering and evaluating the facts, or she has purposely misrepresented the facts, clearly demonstrating that she is not qualified to be the Attorney General.”
—Dan Harrington, owner of U.P. Propane in Iron Mountain, MI
Sept. 3, 2019
“If Nessel fairly communicated both sides of the issue, she would note that Line 5 has been in use since 1953 without a leak into the Great Lakes. She would also point out that a new, already planned utility tunnel would house Line 5, making an already safe pipeline even safer . . . It seems inexplicable why the Whitmer administration doesn’t seek to resume talks with Enbridge officials, and allow the tunnel project to proceed.”
—Chris Ventura, executive director, Consumer Energy Alliance
Aug. 30, 2019
“Michigan is a hard-working state. We take pride in doing tough, blue-collar jobs. If Enbridge shuts down, the jobs of pipeline operators, steel workers, manufacturers, and many others will be threatened. With less tax revenue, the state will have to fill a $40 million hole in their already stretched budget.”
—Tom Paulsen, Sterling Heights business owner and lifelong Michigan resident
Aug. 26, 2019
“Forcing the closure of the pipeline in two years — instead of allowing Enbridge to relocate it to the tunnel in five years — will cost the region thousands of high-paying, blue-collar jobs, raise fuel prices and needlessly risk oil and gas spills along railroads and highways. These are the consequences of political gamesmanship gone too far.”
—Daniel J. Dew (Buckeye Institute) and Jason Hayes (Mackinac Center for Public Policy)
Aug. 21, 2019
“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and some in the environmental community appear to be operating in a sort of fantasy world—where facts and real-life experiences can be discounted—because they are blinded by their own political motivations when it comes to discussing the future of Line 5. Theirs is a world where all relevant facts are ignored or derided as political cover-ups. Common truths—like the need for energy, the critical nature of jobs and economics, security of the current lines, and that building the energy corridor tunnel (at no cost to taxpayers) is the fastest path to removing the current lines from the straits—are simply dismissed.”
—Michigan Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan),
Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) and Rep. Greg Markkanen (R-Hancock)
Aug. 20, 2019
“We have the best engineers anywhere in the world. We have the best tradespeople, the laborers, the construction workers, the equipment operators. We can design it; we can formulate it; we can build it. We can produce the safest tunnel anywhere in the world. We can do it here in Michigan.”
—Michigan Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City)
Aug. 14, 2019
“Prematurely decommissioning a project like Line 5 and halting investments in critical energy transmission infrastructure would immediately disrupt the energy supply for Michigan residents, businesses and U.S. refineries. Jobs will be lost.”
—Steve Bucci, The Heritage Foundation
Aug. 3, 2019
“The ongoing debate over upgrading Michigan’s Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac is a telling example of political dysfunction threatening our nation’s infrastructure . . . lawsuits aimed at stopping new infrastructure are not helpful, and . . . will actually undermine environmental safety in the long run, a key fact we need to keep in mind when evaluating our transportation and infrastructure industries.”
—Brigham McCown, former COO, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
July 18, 2019
“If Line 5 was eliminated we’d probably see increased fuel costs for those locations as well. So we want to make sure that we’re being sound stewards of the environment, and we also want to make sure we protect the economic viability of the Upper Peninsula for everyone who lives here.”
—Nate Heffron, City Manager, Negaunee, MI
July 17, 2019
“If the politicians stop pandering to environmental extremists and give the tunnel the go-ahead, Michigan in a few short years will have protected both its lakes and its energy supplies.”
—Nolan Finley, Detroit News columnist
June 27, 2019
“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s lawsuit Thursday to shut down an aging, underwater oil pipeline, as well as halt a $500-million replacement tunnel project, could result in huge economic harm to Michigan and Toledo area refineries and perhaps to the general public.”
—Editorial board, Toledo Blade