July 31, 2017

With more than 200,000 Michigan jobs tied to tourism, future of Line 5 a major jobs issue


With more than 200,000 Michigan jobs tied to tourism, 
future of Line 5 a major jobs issue
Business leaders: Line 5 oil spill poses massive threat to local jobs


TRAVERSE CITY – Michigan business owners in the tourism and craft brewing industries today called on Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette to begin the process of shutting down Line 5 immediately, citing the tens of thousands of jobs put at risk every day by the 64-year-old pipeline. 

“A Line 5 rupture would be disaster for my company, my family, my 300 staff members and my community,” said Bob Sutherland, president and founder of Glen Arbor-based Cherry Republic, which also released a new video today highlighting the dangers of Line 5. “As owner of Cherry Republic, I feel a deep responsibility to protect the land, water, and air of Michigan for my family, employees and community. Enbridge has taken no responsibility for protecting the resources of this state and has lost the right to pipe one drop of oil through its obsolete, 64-year-old pipeline.”

According to Michigan State University Extension, the state of Michigan had 113.4 million visitors in 2014 and Michigan’s tourism industry sustains 214,000 jobs annually.  According to a 2016 University of Michigan study, a Line 5 oil spill could impact up to 700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline.

“An oil spill in the Great Lakes would have a tremendous impact on fresh drinking water, and many communities do not have an alternative water source,” said Rich Bergmann, owner of Lake Charlevoix Brewing Co. “Craft breweries like mine depend on this water as the number one ingredient in our beer. The Great Lakes are essential to our economy in Michigan and across the region, which is why leaders should take action now and shut down Line 5 to prevent a catastrophic oil spill in the Straits.”

More than 250 Michigan businesses support the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign, including Short’s Brewery and HopCat, which is spearheading its own campaign to encourage customers to support decommissioning Line 5. 

Click here for a complete list of businesses supporting Oil & Water Don’t Mix.


David Holtz
david@davidholtz.org
Mobile & Text: 313-300-4454


Exploring, Enjoying,
Protecting Michigan 



July 27, 2017

House Approves Reckless Spending Bill

Thursday, July 27, 2017
Contact: 
Courtney Bourgoin, courtney.bourgoin@sierraclub.org, (202) 495-3022
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Tonight, the House approved an appropriations “minibus” that includes $1.6 billion in funding to support construction of Trump’s border wall while gutting funding for clean energy and undermining clean water protections. The proposed budget is slated to cut $1 billion in clean energy measures, limit the federal government’s ability to prevent water pollution and direct hard-earned taxpayer dollars toward an inhumane and anti-environmental political agenda.

In response, Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce released the following statement:

“The attacks on the environment, on the health of the public and on human rights in this spending proposal are ill-thought and extremely dangerous. Americans will not stand for cuts to the programs that keep our air and water clean and safe while also being forced to pay for a billion-dollar boondoggle of a border wall.

“It makes no sense to spend nearly $2 billion on an unnecessary and cruel border wall that will cause flooding and threaten wildlife and wild places in an attempt to tear families apart and militarize our border. Furthermore, targeting the the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge as a primary location for the beginnings of a wall, puts wildlife and local economies at great risk.

"This legislation has its priorities all wrong. It slashes funds for job-creating energy efficiency measures and clean energy research, undermines clean water protections while wasting money to construct a barrier on our border. This bill is a recipe for disaster and belongs in the trash, not in Congress.”

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About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

July 24, 2017

Retired Dow Chemical engineer releases study detailing critical errors throughout Line 5 Alternatives Analysis


LANSING - A new analysis prepared by Dr. Edward E. Timm, PhD, PE, a retired Dow Chemical engineer, demonstrates multiple errors and omissions throughout the State of Michigan's Line 5 Alternatives Analysis.

“The plethora of questionable assumptions and unsupported conclusions found in many areas of the Alternatives Analysis raise questions about the lack of intellectual curiosity and objectiveness necessary for this kind of work to be credible,” said Dr. Timm. “As a result of these errors and omissions, at a minimum, it is recommended that an interdisciplinary group of technical experts drawn from a range of industry and non-industry sources be assembled to more closely examine the fitness for service of Line 5 under the Straits.”

Key findings included in the new study include the following:

  One of the most important conclusions of the Dynamic Risk study—evaluating the condition of the 64-year-old Line 5—utilizes incomplete analysis, making it highly suspect and raising questions about the study’s credibility.

Over its 64 -year history, strong currents in the Straits of Mackinac have scoured the lake bottom underneath Line 5. According to public documents, Enbridge allowed multiple unsupported spans to develop during the first 50 years of Line 5’s operation, raising the risk of pipeline failure from bending stress and fatigue.  Enbridge’s efforts to maintain pipeline supports were especially deficient during the 23-year period beginning in 1980 and ending in 2003.  Yet Dynamic Risk failed to factor into its risk analysis the impact of 50 years of unsupported pipeline spans.  Instead, Dynamic Risk estimated pipeline risk using a flawed mathematical model and assumed the pipeline to be in brand new condition, starting their analysis in 2018 and predicting a risk of pipeline rupture to 2053. They estimated a 1 in 60 chance of pipeline rupture through 2053 - but in fact, the pipeline has endured multiple rounds of span damage over the years.  As a result, the expected failure probability of Line 5 under the Straits is 46.4% in 2017 and 72.5% in 2053 based on average failure rates for all pipelines.  This is a far cry from the erroneous 1.6% figure calculated in the Alternatives Analysis.

  Despite documented evidence of pipeline damage, the Dynamic Risk Alternatives Analysis fails to examine the causes of pipeline damage or its impact on Line 5. 

The Alternatives Analysis states that bends found in the exposed underwater sections of Line 5 are of unknown origin but “may have been intentionally or unintentionally created as part of the installation process.”   This statement is speculation on the part of the authors of the Alternatives Analysis.  Records and data that are publicly available suggest that the pipeline was bent in multiple areas at least 26 years after the pipeline was installed.  The type of bends and other damage found along the pipeline are consistent with damage created by gravity and strong currents. Original Bechtel documentation makes no mention of this damage. That this critical finding of damage was dismissed by the authors of the Alternatives Analysis without any investigation or explanation is puzzling. Moreover, of the 22 new screw anchors that Enbridge is currently requesting a permit to install along Line 5 in the Straits, five are to be located in areas where bends and other features point to pipeline damage.

  Dynamic Risk based their probability of a pipeline rupture on average weather conditions rather than extreme conditions of high winds and waves.

Most people understand that structures don’t fail during nice weather. Wind and wave conditions in the Straits of Mackinac fluctuate greatly, yet Dynamic Risk removed from their analysis the most likely condition when a rupture would occur—during peak wind and wave velocity.  This decision to use meteorological data from a period where “Wind conditions are fairly average compared to other years, without any particular high wind events or extreme situations” defies common sense. Excluding the very conditions that would be expected to lead to a rupture of Line 5 is neither explained in the Alternatives Analysis nor realistic. Peak water velocity in the Straits is estimated at least 20% higher than what Dynamic Risk evaluated. 

"It's truly puzzling why Dynamic Risk would skirt widely-recognized best practices in their analysis and omit so many critical details from their examination of the rupture risk of Line 5," said Dr. Timm. "The glaring errors and omissions in this report disqualify much of the Alternatives Analysis as simply wrong."