Credit: Levi Rickert
Credit: Levi Rickert

At an 8am meeting this morning, the Grand Traverse County Commission postponed a vote on a resolution supporting the Enbridge Line 5 tunnel (page 405). They didn’t vote on the resolution – allowing them to bring it up again at a later meeting. Nearly 40 people filled the room. Public comment went on for an hour, with about 20 people speaking forcefully and overwhelmingly in opposition to the resolution, two of them indiginous.

Line 5 opponents will need to be vigilant as the pipeline appears to shamble on like some oily zombie.

Enbridge and their allies wouldn’t be trying to get resolutions through county commissions if they didn’t have a plan to summon the zombie pipeline. 

This morning, Leonard Page, vice-chair of the Straits of Mackinac Alliance, posted on Facebook that a new Line 5 bill will be introduced shortly. According to Page, the new bill will seek to correct the constitutional defects in PA 359, the lame duck bill forced through by Republicans last year, and raise the zombie pipeline from its bureaucratic grave. 

Line 5 is a 66 year old pipeline – dented from anchor strikes and in severe disrepair, carrying 23 million gallons of oil every day. The pipeline has had 29 leaks, releasing over a million gallons of oil, fortunately, it hasn’t leaked into the straits of Mackinac – yet.

Allowing Enbridge to continue operating the pipeline is a gamble. The county commissioners and legislators who support this zombie are betting our Great Lakes, the largest body of fresh water in the world, for what? A few thousand dollars in campaign contributions? A promise that Enbridge won’t fund a primary opponent? A good job when they’re termed out? With 29 leaks on record, that’s a bad bet. And it’s not just Republicans who are being bought. Democratic lawmakers are on the take too

Here are some questions we should be asking our representatives:

  • Why are you voting for new fossil fuel infrastructure in 2019?
    • The science says we are in a carbon crisis and we have to move aggressively away from fossil fuels. Either you believe in science or your don’t – which side are you on?
  • Why are you voting for a government handout to a wealthy corporation?
    • Enbridge is trying to avoid spending money on another pipeline or some other method of moving oil. Instead of spending the money, they want to gamble with the Great Lakes. Letting them gamble with the Great Lakes to save money is a government handout to the 1% at the expense of everyone else.
  • What use are you to your constituents, if you can be bought so cheap?
    • Politicians – Democrats and Republicans – are for sale under our system. This is just a fact of how our system works at the moment. The only way we, your constituents, know you aren’t bought is watching how you vote. We have a right to watch how you vote.

There is a town hall meeting tonight hosted by the Straits of Mackinac Alliance at the Central Methodist Church, 615 US Highway 2 West in St. Ignace, from 7:00 to 8:30pm.

If a new Line 5 tunnel bill is introduced in Lansing, it’s time for a road trip.

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