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“Keep Our Lakes Great” Begins Petition to Stop Light Crude from Flowing in Line 5

"The people of the State of Michigan have control over that five miles of pipeline in the Straits," Keep Our Lakes Great chair Dr. Phil Bellfy said.

A new effort to shut down light crude from running through the Straits of Mackinac starts with a petition.

The Michigan Board of Canvassers officially approved language for the Keep Our Lakes Great petition calling for a ballot initiative in the November 2018 election.

9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Noah Jurik talked to a member of the group about their plans that could stop Line 5. 

"It’s one-fifth of the world’s freshwater and we cannot afford, the whole planet can’t afford to have an oil spill out there," Dr. Bellfy said.  

252,000 signatures in 180 days is what it will take to get an initiative to stop light crude oil from running through Line 5 in the Straits on the ballot. 

"Which sounds like a lot and it is a lot, but this is not a controversial issue," Dr. Bellfy said. "We think we can get the signatures fairly easily."

Keep Our Lakes Great says the impact of a spill would be too big. 

"They will all break at some point and the argument is, do you want to shut down the flow of oil after it breaks or do you want to shut it down before it breaks?" Dr. Bellfy said.

This comes as the National Wildlife Service released data saying Enbridge has had more than 800 spills totaling millions of gallons in North America since 1999.

Enbridge says over the past 15 years there have been three incidents on Line 5 that have resulted in a total of approximately 21 barrels being released, all of it recovered.

"When Enbridge talks about how safe their line is with all their history that they have and all the spills that they’ve had, I’m sorry, I just don’t believe them. I can’t," Dr. Bellfy said.

Enbridge also says this summer they plan safety tests and maintenance projects. 

In regards to the petition, they say the state’s addressing any pipeline safety issues and wants to wait for the findings of two independent studies of Line 5 now underway.

"We want to get the oil out of Line 5," Dr. Bellfy said. "The risk is just too great."

Keep Our Lakes Great plans to begin their petition initiative Monday.