State Rep. Triston Cole of Mancelona today reacted to a state-commissioned report regarding possible options for Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac.
“As a conservationist and an advocate for a strong economy, my top priorities are keeping oil transport safe and keeping energy affordable for Michigan residents and businesses,” Cole said. “I am concerned alternatives to a Straits pipeline would put too much additional stress on highways, railroads, shipping and the Soo Locks, and other methods of transport that in many cases already are struggling to keep up with current demand.”
Cole’s comments come in response to a report from a consulting firm called Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems that reviews several potential options, including keeping Line 5 operational.
The option of using existing pipelines that do not cross the Straits was dismissed due to limited capacity. Options such as using trucks or oil tankers instead of pipelines were evaluated but eliminated from further consideration.
Increased truck traffic is one example of the added stress that would result from replacing Line 5 volume. Matching the volume would require one tanker truck leaving the terminal every 40 seconds, 24 hours a day, requiring 3,200 tanker trucks a day.
Some alternatives to a Straits pipeline would create higher safety risks and result in higher fuel costs for consumers, the report said. Propane costs for Upper Peninsula residents could rise 10 to 25 cents a gallon if alternatives were used instead of a Straits pipeline. Lower Peninsula producers would face higher costs per barrel to get their products to market, which would cause higher gasoline prices in Michigan.