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Today, Enbridge Energy released a report concerning the possibility of replacing Line 5 with a tunneled oil pipeline under the most sensitive part of the Great Lakes ecosystem.

“Michigan does not need Line 5, yet our state bears all the risks associated with a devastating Line 5 oil spill and gets next to nothing in return,” said Sean McBrearty, Clean Water Action’s Michigan Program Organizer. “Feasible and prudent alternatives to Line 5 can be found in existing pipeline infrastructure, or in building a new pipeline through Ontario. There is no reason that we should continue to expose the Great Lakes to such a risk.”

More than 95% of the oil and gas moved through Line 5 is Canadian product destined for Canadian refineries, and overseas markets, but a Line 5 spill could have a direct economic impact to Michigan of over $6.3 billion, according to a recent economic study from Michigan State University ecological economist, Robert Richardson.

Building a tunnel through the Straits of Mackinac would take at least 7 years, meanwhile the current dented and corroding Line 5 pipeline would remain operating, threatening not only the Straits of Mackinac, but 245 other areas identified by FLOW (For Love of Water), where Line 5 crosses Michigan waterways.

“Today, we renew our call on Governor Snyder and Attorney General Schuette to immediately enjoin Enbridge’s easement and begin the process of decommissioning Line 5. We also encourage all candidates running for Governor and Attorney General this year to make their positions on Enbridge’s tunnel scheme known,” said McBrearty. “Michigan voters deserve to know where candidates stand on this critical issue.”

A recent EPIC-MRA poll showed that 87% of likely Michigan voters are concerned about the possibility of a Straits of Mackinac oil spill.


Clean Water Action is Michigan’s largest grassroots conservation group with over 250,000 members across the state. Through direct advocacy and education they organize Michigan residents to protect the Great Lakes and our water resources. Learn more at


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