Letters to the Editor • Line 5 Considerations

Posted In: Politics, State, Opinion,   From Issue 878   By: Robert E Martin

25th April, 2019     0

Editor, REVIEW Magazine;

There are some key facts that Enbridge has been avoiding as the State reconsiders a tunnel project for Line 5.   Let us begin with the claim that Line 5 is a vital supplier of Michigan’s energy needs.  Line 5 pumps 23 million gallons of mostly Alberta oil products through the Straits each day as a high risk shortcut to get Canadian oil to the Canadian market and export.  When it is pumping crude oil, 95% goes to Sarnia, Ontario with only about 5% going to the Detroit Marathon refinery. When it pumps natural gas liquids, 98% goes to Sarnia with about 2% stripped out at Rapid River in the UP for propane use. (About one railcar or three propane trucks a day).  To further underscore its minimal impact on Michigan energy needs, the Dynamic Risk Alternative study of 2017, paid for by Enbridge, determined that a shutdown would mean temporary per gallon cost increases of mere pennies. Negligible benefits for Michigan.

Now for the risks: A 2018 study by Michigan Tech (again paid for by Enbridge) indicated a worst case spill of 2.5 million gallons in the Straits. University of  Michigan studies (Schwab and Richardson) indicate 700 miles of shoreline would be oiled and the damage figure would be well above $6 billion. The true cost of a massive spill is beyond any dollar figure. A winter or rough weather clean-up effort would be almost useless.   An April 1, 2018 anchor drag left dents and gouges in the twin pipelines. Line 5 has leaked 29 times, spilling over a million gallons of oil to date and is now approaching 66 years of age despite a 50 year life expectancy. Enbidge’s integrity management system has had four gas pipelines explosions in other states in the last six months. Huge risk for being a permanent shortcut for Canadian oil.

Now for all those alleged temporary jobs.  The tunnel project was originally projected to take 7-10 years when Snyder was governor and got his tunnel sellout rushed through late last year in a lameduck session of the legislature.  Now we hear it might be done in four years. Remember, these are temporary jobs. How many? Republicans rejected a Democrat amendment on the Snyder tunnel bill to reserve 50% of jobs for northern Michiganders. Dems then “won” an amendment to develop a “plan” for a “labor pool” of an unspecified number of Michigan jobs.  Here's Enbridge comment of August 4, 2017 in response to Dynamic Risk study proposal for a tunnel or trench alternative for Line 5: “ the positive economic impact to Michigan are (sic) overstated.  The type and complex nature of either alternative would likely drive the need for specific equipment and contractors likely not currently available in the State of Michigan.” [page 8, Emphasis added]   

So Enbridge says there will be temp jobs for mostly out-of state workers. Thanks for the sleeves off your vest.

Many big problems with any proposed tunnel:  Enbridge has a terrible record for safety and transparency making it a terrible partner for any new venture, the old pipelines now in the Straits keep pumping  during the tunnel build, the 640 miles of even higher risk, vintage land pipeline, crossing over 400 Michigan water bodies in the Great Lakes basin, are not being replaced. 

Great risk versus little benefits equals no-brainer verdict - decommission Line 5 now - no tunnel.

Details on these studies and facts are available at websites for Oil and Water Don’t Mix and For Love of Water.

Leonard Page • Cheboygan


Dear Editor;

This letter is a simple effort of appreciation to you and your staff for the many articles and informative social activities you have printed in the Review. It is a welcome publication for transplants to the Saginaw area as myself, giving healthy dialogue and analysis to readers of a variety of issues and events.

Of particular note, are the editorial contents, with the Top 10 Censored articles of recent being a thoughtful on-going use of free speech. Also, the perspectives of individual writers keep a reader's attention on local concerns, with follow up work on events being of real value to your readership.

In the realm of music, this magazine puts a lively presentation together of local artists and events, which caused me to pay more attention to locally grown talent. I certainly wasn't disappointed, but rather pleased to see good people using their talents so energetically. Your covering of this part of the Saginaw culture is pleasing indeed.

Finally, supporting advertisers with succinct stories of their history and business presentations to the public certainly entrenches this publication into the overall fabric of Saginaw. Well done! Please continue and expand your mission of meaningful dialogue in The Review.

Kind regards, Keith


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