New Bill Could Potentially Shut Down Line 5

A newly introduced bill could cut the flow of the controversial Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac, and the idea is getting strong responses from both sides.

Enbridge runs the 64-year-old Line 5.

It pumps crude oil from Alberta, Canada, under the Straits, to a refinery in Ontario.

This new bill wouldn’t shut down the pipeline outright.

It would stop new pipelines from being built in the Great Lakes, and make it so existing pipelines would have to be reviewed by a third party, not Enbridge.

If a review finds it unsafe to operate, it would then be shut down.

The Tip of the Mitt Watershed is behind the bill, and says a spill would be beyond catastrophic.

 “There is a lot of water at risk with respect to Line 5, and pipelines are considered to be one of the safest means of transporting these commodities from point A to point B, but given the sensitive ecosystems we have here and the importance of our fresh water, there are just areas that should not have pipelines going through them and the Great Lakes is one of them,” says Jennifer McKay, Tip of the Mitt Watershed policy director.

We reached out to Enbridge, which responded with this statement on the bill: "We believe the steps the state is taking to make sure that Michigan’s pipelines are operated safely and reliably are very important. We are working with the state and continue to provide information as requested on Line 5, our operations, our ability to respond effectively should an incident occur, and our commitment to prevention through a robust integrity and maintenance program."