AG’s Line 5 move sets state down wrong path

We believe Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s move last week to shut down twin 66-year-old oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac, saying they pose an “unacceptable risk” and the state cannot wait five to 10 years for Enbridge Inc. to build a tunnel to house replacement pipes, makes no sense to us, given what virtually every expert in the business has said about the line’s importance.

Nessel, a Democrat, said she acted after it became clear talks between Enbridge and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had broken down. Whitmer was pushing to finish the tunnel in two years, while Enbridge was insisting it could not be done before 2024, when it would decommission the existing pipes.

“I have consistently stated that Enbridge’s pipelines in the Straits need to be shut down as soon as possible because they present an unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes,” Nessel said in a press release.

Fair enough. But about the product that flows through the pipeline and the role it plays in people’s lives? Enbridge officials, and many others not connected with the Canadian company, claim the line meets 55% of Michigan’s propane needs, including 65% used in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Refineries served by Line 5 also supply a large portion of the aviation fuel at Detroit Metro Airport.

Turning the spigot off, so to speak, without a well-conceived plan to address at least the propane needs of Michigan residents is, at minimum, wrong and could ultimately prove dangerous. We hope this bad plan is set aside in the near future and Enbridge can get back to building the tunnels under the straits the state agreed to in the first place.