Guest Post: Consumer Energy Alliance on Enbridge Line 5

The safe and secure delivery of energy through transmission lines and pipelines is vital to Ohio’s economy – allowing businesses to remain competitive and reinvest in their employees and in our state. One such pipeline that Ohio businesses rely on is Line 5. 

For those who may have seen the news this week that the governor of Michigan ordered the pipeline shutdown, but are unfamiliar with the importance of Line 5, it is an oil and natural gas liquid (NGL) pipeline that begins in Superior, Wisconsin crossing the Great Lakes in the Straits of Mackinac and ends in Sarnia, Ontario. Continually monitored and modernized, Line 5 has never had any environmental incident in the Straits. 

Along the 645-mile route, oil and NGLs are picked up and delivered to refineries across the region. For over sixty years, these deliveries have been safely and securely providing the energy businesses and families in our region need to fuel their activities. 

Back in 2018, a bipartisan deal was made to make this safe pipeline even safer for the Great Lakes region by replacing the water crossing with a tunnel bored through solid bedrock and reinforced with concrete up to 250 feet below the lakebed. However, Michigan’s current governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, has tried multiple avenues to stop the Line 5 Tunnel Project from moving forward. After multiple lost court cases since her inauguration, the latest arbitrarily attempt to shutdown Line 5 involves revoking an easement that appears to be a violation of both federal and international law.

Although Michigan’s economy would suffer greatly, the Buckeye State would shoulder the biggest economic burden of a shutdown according to an independent analysis recently released by Consumer Energy Alliance. Ohio’s economic output would see a $13.7 billion loss out of an estimated $20.8 billion loss in the region. Furthermore, Ohio could also see more than 20,000 jobs lost out of an estimated 33,000 that are at risk.

All those numbers, the authors say, are likely to be under-estimates, since the report does not examine a host of other economic damages that could occur – including higher motor and jet fuel prices, which would raise the cost of travel. In Michigan alone, a state-commissioned study found a shutdown of Line 5 would lead to $200 million in increased energy costs for businesses and families. Imagine what the impact would be on Ohio – especially northwest Ohio – where our refineries produce the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel that power passenger and cargo planes, fleet vehicles and personal cars.

Businesses and organizations throughout Ohio have recognized the importance of Line 5. And, the Ohio Chamber should be applauded for supporting actions like House Resolution 13. Making HR 13 a key vote underscores the commitment of the Chamber in supporting the affordable, reliable energy that businesses across Ohio rely on, while ensuring that energy is transported in the most environmentally responsible way possible.