(Tuesday - December 15, 2020) - While there appears to be a rush by downstate legislators and environmentalists to shut down the controversial Line 5 pipeline running alongside the Mackinac Bridge in the Straits of Mackinac, many in the Upper Peninsula see the proposed shutdown as a potential death knell for portions of the Upper Peninsula's economy.

Among those who believe that this pipeline is vital to the U.P. economy, are the members of the Dickinson County Board of Commissioners, who voted on Monday to adopt a resolution in support of Enbridge's Line 5, and the proposal to place the pipeline in a tunnel, up to 100 feet below the straits floor. (Depiction shown above)

Following is Enbridge's assessment of the importance of Line 5:

"Line 5 helps heat Michigan homes, schools, hospitals and businesses, fuels vehicles, and powers industry by safely and reliably transporting light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGL)."

"Families and businesses in the Upper Peninsula rely on Line 5 to meet 65% of their propane demand. Similarly, Line 5 delivers 55% of Michigan's statewide propane needs."

"The light oil transported through Line 5 meets increasing demand from refineries in Michigan and Ohio. Regional refineries process this light oil into gas, diesel and jet fuel, which are vital to transportation and the economy."

"Additionally, product from Line 5 is essential to manufacturing more than 6,000 items, including eyewear, clothing, hand sanitizer, vehicles, shampoo, toothpaste, medical equipment, and other necessities used every day."

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Following is the text of the resolution adopted by the Commission:

WHEREAS, Enbridge's Line 5 has been operating safely and reliably in Michigan for more than 65 years, and

WHEREAS, Enbridge's Line 5, a light crude and natural gas liquids pipeline, helps to safely meet Michigan energy needs by fulfilling more than half of the propane needs of the state, and

WHEREAS, the products delivered to regional refineries provide jobs and ultimately fuel our lives; and

WHEREAS, multiple and extensive inspections and safety tests of the last several years have confirmed the integrity of Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac as fit for service, and

WHEREAS, Enbridge has proposed to invest $500 million to make a safe pipeline safer by placing a tunnel with one-foot-thick concrete walls 100 feet underground and make the chances of a leak into the Straits virtually zero; and

WHEREAS, consequences to energy supply, local producers, regional airports and refineries; jobs, local economies and the pocketbook of Michiganders across the U.P. and the state are too great for Line 5 to be shut down before the tunnel replacement line can be completed;

WHEREAS, Enbridge has demonstrated a willingness to work with the state to both protect the Great Lakes and ensure the continued safe delivery of energy we all rely on.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Dickinson County Board of Commissioners extends its support for Enbridge's proposed tunnel replacement project, and urges the State of Michigan to work with Enbridge to complete the tunnel project as quickly as possible and not disrupt Line 5 service before the tunnel can be completed.

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According to the latest information available, Enbridge is in the process of surveying the lake bottom, to determine what type of tunnel boring machinery will be needed to cut a tunnel through the lake bed.


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