March 25, 2016

Enbridge Must Release All Pipeline Safety Documents for Risky “Line 5” in the Straits

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Enbridge Must Release All Pipeline Safety 
Documents for Risky “Line 5” in the Straits
Amid New Concerns About Great Lakes Safety, Groups Back State's
Demand For Immediate Transparency from Canadian Pipeline Giant

Media Contacts:  Lynna Kaucheck 313-486-1356/, Liz Kirkwood 231 944 1568/, David Holtz 313-300-4454/

Citizens groups today were sharply critical of Enbridge Energy’s failure to comply with demands by state officials to disclose information on the safety of Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

In a March 11 letter to Enbridge, top state environmental officials and Attorney General Bill Schuette—citing “continuing concerns about potential risks” from the Straits pipelines—gave  Enbridge 30 days to comply with their request for detailed information on the twin pipelines.  The letter follows disclosures earlier this year by Enbridge of corrosion in the pipelines.

“Enbridge’s refusal to make pipeline safety inspection and other data publicly available raises serious questions that require answers that only Enbridge can provide,” said David Holtz, Chair of Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Executive Committee.   “Enbridge needs to come clean on what they know and what they aren’t telling us about oil pipelines that pose a huge threat to the Great Lakes.”

In their letter to Enbridge, state officials demanded pipeline inspection, integrity, operating pressure and other information including the impact of invasive mussels that cover the pipelines.  Inspection records from 2013 show corrosion in nine spots, but the documents release by Enbridge consisted of a summary.  Other pipeline information previously shared with the state was of limited value because they were in read-only format.  Schuette, along with Keith Creagh, interim director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and William Moritz, interim director of theMichigan Department of Natural Resources, asked for detailed pipeline inspection documents and videos along with the company’s own evaluations, assessments and reports on the pipelines.

According to the state’s March 11 letter, Enbridge has asserted that the pipeline information is protected from disclosure because of confidentiality and security.  The state has challenged Enbridge’s claims.

“The public is entitled to know what Enbridge knows about the safety of those pipelines,” said Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director, FLOW.   “Enbridge is going all around the state telling people that these pipelines are safe, that we shouldn’t worry about the risk of a pipeline rupture in the Great Lakes.  But their refusal to release these pipeline safety documents speak much louder than their words.”

State officials noted that pipeline safety inspection and other data are critically important to assessing risks posed by the pipelines, something that a state pipeline safety advisory board is currently evaluating as part of a process that is also looking at the future of Line 5 in the Straits.

“Shutting down Line 5 is the only real option for protecting the Great Lakes,” said Lynna Kaucheck, Senior Organizer, Food & Water Watch.  “It becomes clearer each and every day just how risky it is for us to be trusting Enbridge’s word on safety.”


For a copy of the State of Michigan’s letter to Enbridge email

March 16, 2016

Sierra Club to lawmakers: Increased clean energy standards can’t wait

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Contact: Jen Flood, Byrum & Fisk Communications, (586) 531-8767

Sierra Club to lawmakers: Increased clean energy standards can’t wait

LANSING—More than 70 members of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter today traveled from across the state to meet with lawmakers to discuss the future of Michigan’s energy policy.

“We simply cannot wait any longer to pass clean energy policy that builds on the successes of our thriving clean energy sector,” said Mike Berkowitz, legislative and political director of Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.  “Utility companies may spend millions of dollars on corporate lobbyists and television ads, but Sierra Club members today are pushing back and urging legislators to do the right thing and increase our renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.”

The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter has organized more than 400 meetings between citizen activists and lawmakers this session alone. The organization represents more than 80,000 environmentally conscientious citizens across Michigan.

“I’m proud to be a sponsor of legislation to build on the success of our clean energy sector—reducing pollution, creating jobs and launching new businesses in our state,” said State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor), Democratic vice chair of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee. “When it comes to reducing pollution and protecting public health, we can’t afford to wait.”
The Sierra Club has been aggressively urging members of the Michigan House and Senate to increase the renewable energy standard to 30 percent by 2030 and the energy efficiency standard to 2 percent.

“I urge my colleagues to take action on our energy future,” said Rep. Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights). “Increasing our renewable energy and energy efficiency standards will provide much-needed cost savings for Michigan families and businesses. Thanks to advances in technology, the cost of renewable energy has declined drastically over the past five years. Michigan has the highest energy costs in the region and it’s crucial that we manage these costs to grow our economy and create jobs.”

Reports from the Michigan Public Service Commission show that investment in renewable energy has leveled off as the state met its goal of generating 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

“The right to breathe clean air should not depend on your income or skin color, which is why our legislators need to act now to increase our clean energy standards,” said Dorthea Thomas, Environmental & Climate Justice Organizer for Michigan United and Sierra Club Executive Committee Member. “Pollution disproportionately affects low-income and communities of color who are much more likely to live close to a power plant.”

“It’s time for Michigan to reduce its over-reliance on burning coal and transition to more renewable energy and energy efficiency to reduce pollution,” said Dave Errickson, R.N. and Sierra Club Central Michigan Group Chair. “Increasing our renewable energy and energy efficiency standards will reduce dangerous pollution and protect the health of Michigan families.”