Time for governor to heed report’s findings

On March 29, Alpena County Commissioners considered a resolution asking Gov. Synder to utilize the State’s authority to restrict Enbridge pipeline No. 5 to carrying only non-oil products and limiting the pounds of pressure in the pipeline until the recommendations of the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force, published in July of 2015 have been satisfied and an independent panel of pipeline experts has certified the line’s safety.

Ten days earlier, The Alpena News published an editorial stating the need to evaluate the safety of the line but included only the Enbridge website for information. It is unfortunate that readers, including the County Commissioners, were not directed to read at least the summary of the Pipeline Task Force which is available online. The Task Force worked for a year on the report and taxpayers paid salaries of the many government employees involved. Their recommendations included an independent risk analysis, adequate financial assurances that Enbridge would cover all damages both public and private caused by a spill, disclosure of inspection data and other information specified in the report. These recommendations have not been satisfied. That is why the resolution should have been passed and sent to the Governor.

I applaud those Commissioners who voted for the resolution and question those who voted against it saying they needed more information. This was an agenda item, not a surprise. This is an issue that threatens our environment, our economy and our lives. The threats are clearly described in The Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report. We all paid for the recommendations and it’s the Governor’s job to act on them.

Patty Thomas