MACKINAW CITY, Mich. – The battle over the future of the Line 5 Pipeline seems to have hit a critical pass.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set a deadline to shut it down, but oil is still running through the Straits of Mackinac with no signs of stopping.
Both sides of the battle are using the current gasoline shortage to make their case.
There were protests in Mackinaw City and Lansing Thursday that demanded Enbridge stop operating the pipeline.
“A Line 5 pipeline rupture in the Straits of Mackinac would be catastrophic for Mackinac Island and the entire region,” said Mackinac Island city council member Anneke Myers. “It would have an irreversible impact on the economy and the livability of the island.”
They’re backing Whitmer’s move to revoke the easement that has allowed the pipeline to operate since 1953. The pipeline carries 22,680,000 gallons of oil through the Straits of Mackinac every day.
The state said if Enbridge continues to operate the pipeline, the state will seek to disgorge the company of its profits earned while unlawfully trespassing on state land.
Whitmer said said the Colonial Pipeline problems give us all reason to rethink fossil fuels.
United Steel Workers Union Rep. Justin Donley, who works at a refinery in Toledo, said its refinery could close if Line 5 is shut down. He said the Colonial Pipeline issues are reason to keep the Line 5 open.
“There are fuel shortages all over the southeast part of the country and the region as high as Pennsylvania,” Donley said. “You can see it in real time right now what happens when a pipeline shuts down. This is gonna be no different and I would argue potentially even worse.”
Enbridge said it will keep operating and will do so until a judge tells it to stop.