Gov. Whitmer moves to stop Line 5 to protect Great Lakes

"Enbridge has routinely refused to take action to protect our Great Lakes and the millions of Americans who depend on them for clean drinking water and good jobs."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer/Twitter

In order to protect the Great Lakes, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced she is working to shut down the 67-year-old Line 5 dual oil pipelines.

On Friday, Gov. Whitmer, along with Michigan DNR Director Dan Eichinger, took action to terminate a 67-year-old agreement with the Canadian energy company Enbridge. The move to revoke the agreement was due to the “unreasonable risk” that Enbridge’s Line 5 dual oil pipelines pose to the Great Lakes.

Whitmer and Eichinger also asked the Ingham County Circuit Court to recognize the validity of their action. The notice to Enbridge wouldn’t require Line 5 to cease operation until 2021, in order to protect Michigan’s energy needs.

“Here in Michigan, the Great Lakes define our borders, but they also define who we are as people. Enbridge has routinely refused to take action to protect our Great Lakes and the millions of Americans who depend on them for clean drinking water and good jobs,” stated Gov. Whitmer. “They have repeatedly violated the terms of the 1953 easement by ignoring structural problems that put our Great Lakes and our families at risk.”

Enbridge claims there is “no credible basis” for the agreement to be terminated.

“This notice and the report from Michigan Department of Natural Resources are a distraction from the fundamental facts,” said Enbridge Executive Vice President Vern Yu. “Line 5 remains safe, as envisioned by the 1953 Easement, and as recently validated by our federal safety regulator.”

Gov. Whitmer’s office pointed out that the Great Lakes hold 21% of the earth’s freshwater, supply drinking water for almost 50 million people, and support 1.3 million jobs.

“After spending more than 15 months reviewing Enbridge’s record over the last 67 years, it is abundantly clear that today’s action is necessary. Enbridge’s historic failures and current non-compliance present too great a risk to our Great Lakes and the people who depend upon them,” stated Eichinger. “Our number one priority is protecting the Great Lakes, and we will continue to work with our partners across Michigan in pursuit of that objective.”