July 14, 2015

Sierra Club Responds to Enbridge Pipeline Report

Tuesday,  July 14, 2015
Media contact:   David Holtz, 313-300-4454david@davidholtz.org

The following statement can be attributed to David Holtz, Chair,
Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Executive Committee:

Today’s Michigan Petroleum Task Force recommendations by Attorney General Bill Schuette and the Snyder administration appear to offer the potential for eventual relief from the threat of Enbridge’s pipelines through the Straits of Mackinac, but leave the Great Lakes, drinking water sources and northern Michigan’s tourist economy unacceptably vulnerable to a catastrophic pipeline rupture.

If you believe these existing pipelines pose an immediate threat to the Great Lakes—and we do—the task force recommendations amount to a rearranging of deck chairs on Michigan’s Titanic of oil pipelines, only worse:  the threat of Enbridge’s pipelines through the Straits are there for all to see.  What is needed—and needed now—is to shut down Line 5.  Only then can Michiganders be assured that the Great Lakes and northern Michigan’s tourist economy are no longer at risk from an oil spill that would consume the shoreline around Mackinac Island and from Lake Michigan to Rogers City along Lake Huron.

Unfortunately, Attorney General Schuette and the Snyder administration failed to prioritize the immediate threat of the Straits pipelines.  That is disappointing and given that many of the recommendations in the report could take months and years to implement, the report constitutes a failure on the part of state officials to prioritize protecting the Great Lakes over protecting the oil industry’s profits.

The task force recommendation to examine alternatives to the Enbridge pipelines through the Straits is welcome but must be a public, transparent process instead of the behind-the-scenes, secretive process that has mostly characterized the pipeline task force proceedings.  Moreover, the task force recommendations reinforce the need for transparency and we are disappointed that the task force failed to lodge opposition to pending legislation what would make most pipeline safety documents secret.