Much to weigh on Line 5

A rupture of Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5, the oil pipeline that runs through Straits of Mackinac on its route from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario, could devastate the environments and economies of shoreline communities on lakes Michigan and Huron — including, within six days of a spill, Rogers City, News staff writer Julie Riddle reported over the weekend.

A closure of Line 5, however, could devastate economies by pulling 756,000 gallons of propane out of Michigan’s markets, Riddle reported. Risk to the environment would remain, too, as oil is moved from the pipeline to trucks on the highway.

“The question is, which is worse?” David Schwab, a researcher who conducted hundreds of tests to determine possible outcomes of an oil spill from the pipeline, told Riddle.

That question must ultimately get answered by policymakers in Lansing and Washington as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer moves to shut down the pipeline and Enbridge works to get Michigan to uphold the deal struck with Whitmer’s predecessor that would allow Enbridge to encase Line 5 in a protective tunnel.

But, before policymakers answer that question, residents must answer it for themselves. And we urge them to weigh all sides of the issue carefully.

Like most issues, many complexities shade the Line 5 debate. So much more than “oil is bad” or “oil is good” must be considered.

Whatever side you fall on, whether you decide the potential harm to the economy pales in comparison to the potential harm to the Great Lakes or the other way around, understand that every give requires a take, and be sure you’re comfortable with that.

Then, make sure your representatives in the Legislature and Congress know how you feel.


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