Earlier this week, House Resolution 13 was introduced, which urges the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, to keep the Enbridge’s Line 5 operational. Line 5 is critical to our energy infrastructure. For decades, it has safely delivered products to refineries in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ontario.
Line 5 is an oil pipeline that rests on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac and carries roughly 540,000 barrels a day of light crude oil, light synthetic crude and natural gas liquids which are all used to refine propane. To ensure the environmental safety of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, a project was approved by former Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, to allow Enbridge to create a tunnel to house the pipeline to prevent any environmental issues. After pushback from environmental groups, the newly elected Gov. Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, blocked the tunnel plans and sought to decommission Line 5 altogether.
“Families, workers and employers depend on Line 5, and they’re counting on construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel to protect the Great Lakes and local economies, and keep energy prices affordable,” said Mike Alaimo, director of environmental and energy affairs for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and a spokesperson for Great Lakes Michigan Jobs. “As we fight to recover from COVID-19, the thousands of jobs this project will create and support are more important than ever.”
Shutting down Line 5 would not only be devastating to Ohio and Michigan’s economy, but it would also negatively affect the economy from a regional perspective. The interconnectivity of the petroleum market means that small events can create regional price shocks, and larger events can quickly cascade into a national crisis requiring federal action and assistance. All refineries in the region would experience reduced crude oil supply and would not be able to meet product demand, thus, resulting in high prices for consumers. If the pipeline is taken offline, refineries located in northwest Ohio could be forced to eliminate more than 1000 good-paying jobs.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensuring a clean and safe environment now and into the future. By encasing and reopening Line 5, Ohio and Michigan jobs will be preserved, and the energy we all rely on can be transported in a safe manner. The Ohio and Michigan Chamber of Commerce commends the sponsor and co-sponsors of HR 13 and urges its passage.