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Michigan News

MI Groups Back Shutting Down Line 5, Despite Legislative Moves

Gas prices
Konstantin Sutyagin/logoboom - stock.adobe.com
High gas prices on yellow sign over blue sky.

The Michigan Legislature approved a resolution this week backing energy independence, and asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to call off attempts to shut down the Line 5 dual pipelines.

With gas prices surging amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, lawmakers who supported this resolution say domestic oil production should be a priority.

Sean McBrearty, campaign coordinator for the group Oil and Water Don't Mix, said conversations about energy independence and security should focus on building renewables faster, rather than relying on more fossil fuel.

"We have to realize that the sooner we can get away from oil, and natural gas and other fossil fuels, the sooner we can get away from dictators like Vladimir Putin being able to leverage things like that in this sort of a war that he's pursuing right now in Ukraine," McBrearty asserted.

The pipelines are operated by Enbridge Energy, a Canadian company pursuing building a tunnel around them, though environmental advocates and engineers have raised serious financial and safety concerns. Enbridge has said shutting down Line 5 would cause energy-market disruptions, though McBrearty pointed to multiple studies showing the pipelines could be closed without any price or supply disruption.

McBrearty noted the resolution is nonbinding and will have no impact on the future of Line 5. He thinks it is important for pipeline shutdown efforts to continue.

"There's plenty of capacity elsewhere in the system for the product that moves through Line 5," McBrearty contended. "And with the declining demand that we're going to be seeing in future years, there's no reason we should be looking at building an oil tunnel through the Great Lakes."

This week, Whitmer joined five other governors asking Congress to suspend the federal gas tax with prices so high. Their request comes as the national average price of gas surpassed the previous record from the 2008 recession.

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