Representative applauds agreement to replace Line 5 with tunnel
State Rep. Sue Allor’s plan to better protect the Great Lakes by strengthening pipeline safety standards in the Straits of Mackinac was approved today by the Michigan House with bipartisan support.
Allor, of Wolverine, said the safety measures included in the plan will help protect the Great Lakes from the threat of a spill until the current segment of Line 5 that crosses under the Straits is permanently shut down and replaced by the new tunnel announced today.
“While I would prefer an immediate shutdown of Line 5, today’s announcement is a huge step in the right direction,” Allor said. “Until a tunnel is built, we must do more to protect Michigan families, businesses and our natural resources from the devastating harm a spill in the Straits would cause.”
The comprehensive plan Allor introduced alongside two of her House colleagues holds vessels and utility companies operating in the Straits accountable to the people of Michigan.
The “Straits of Mackinac Safety, Protection and Accountability” action plan:
- Improves reporting from pipeline operators to the state of Michigan.
- Increases the safety and security of utility lines that provide communities in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula with access to phone, cable, natural gas, oil and electricity.
- Clearly establishes the Straits as a no-anchor zone.
- Requires additional signs and buoys alerting boats not to use anchors in the Straits.
- Establishes clear penalties for vessels that break maritime laws and jeopardize the safety of Michigan’s waterways.
- Provides added accountability and increased penalties for those responsible for negligence or criminal damage to public utilities.
- Protects people who report violations of maritime safety laws that threaten the Great Lakes.
“The Great Lakes play a vital role in the lives of all northern Michigan residents,” Allor said. “Our families, wildlife and many local businesses depend on these waters. Protecting our most precious natural resource must be our top priority.”
The action plan, laid out in House Bills 6187, 6199, 6200, 6201 and 6398, now moves to the Senate for consideration.