State Rep. Sue Allor today called for a complete and immediate shutdown of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.
Allor, of Wolverine, said continuing to allow crude oil and natural gas liquids to flow below the Straits poses too much of a risk to the natural resources critical to all Michigan families.
“I have spent a great deal of time researching studies and papers on the pipeline, meeting with stakeholders, talking to experts, and listening to constituents – as of yesterday, I’ve finished the final portion of Michigan Tech’s independent study. The facts are present and clear, Line 5 poses too great of a threat,” Allor said. “It’s time to shut it down.”
In conversations Allor has had with numerous engineers on this issue, she says there are deep concerns about the underwater pipeline.
“Line 5 as it exists today looks nothing like the structure that was designed by engineers in the 1950s,” Allor said. “We’ve gone from a pipeline that lies primarily on the bottomlands to one that is suspended significantly by supports.”
According to records, the portion of Line 5 running under the Straits currently has 150 structural supports, and an additional 48 have been proposed. If installed, 2.8 of the 4.2 miles of pipeline running under the Straits would be supported above the bottomlands.
“I have learned that if plans move forward, 67 percent of the pipeline originally designed to lay on the bottomlands would be elevated above the floor,” Allor said. “In effect, the Line 5 of today is a totally different structure than the one engineers performed safety analyses on in 1953.”
In the nearly two years Allor has served as a state representative, she has closely monitored any and all developments regarding Line 5 – meeting with various experts, reviewing numerous reports, attending public hearings and touring Enbridge’s facility in Mackinaw City.
“The state may choose to allow the construction and operations of a new pipeline in the future if Enbridge can make a truthful case to our state illustrating Line 5’s economic importance and provide a safe approach for its placement,” Allor said. “I encourage Enbridge to explore innovative approaches – such as a multi-user utility tunnel under the Straits that would enhance the economic future of Michigan, while doing more to protect our greatest natural resource.”
On June 12, she introduced a comprehensive plan to strengthen pipeline safety standards and hold vessels and utility companies operating in the Straits accountable to the people of Michigan.
“The latest study shows that a ‘worst-case scenario’ spill from Line 5 could impact 400 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, the majority of which lays in my district, and cost billions of dollars to clean up,” Allor said. “We must do everything we can to prevent a crisis like this from ruining the water our families drink, swim and fish each and every day.”