Statement from Michelle Woodhouse, Water Program Manager, Environmental Defence

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – We are dismayed by the Michigan Public Service Commission’s decision today to grant Enbridge a permit to construct a dangerous oil pipeline tunnel underneath the ecologically sensitive Straits of Mackinac – through the heart of the Great Lakes. The tunnel fails to address the broader risks posed by Enbridge’s aging Line 5 pipeline and introduces new and terrifying environmental safety risks.

The Commission is disregarding warnings from independent industry experts and putting residents on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border in uncharted, dangerous territory. Furthermore, Enbridge and decision-makers continue to blatantly ignore reputable industry analysis showing that neither the tunnel nor the Line 5 pipeline, are necessary to reliably and affordably meet our energy needs. We have safer options than Line 5 and this dangerous tunnel.

We cannot allow Enbridge to jeopardize the health and safety of the Great Lakes and the many people who depend on them. We need the Government of Canada and the United States to prioritize the health of the Great Lakes, a shared public treasure, and work collaboratively towards a planned and orderly shutdown of the Line 5 pipeline.

Background info:

  • This tunnel would be the largest underwater tunnel to carry hazardous liquids in the world, crossing directly through the heart of the world’s largest surface freshwater system, the Great Lakes.
  • The sediment under the Straits of Mackinac is of poor quality for tunnel boring, threatening the tunnel’s integrity
  • Experts testified that an explosion could create a fuel-rich fire that would burn for days, causing the tunnel to collapse.
  • The presence of methane gas introduces the risk that hydrocarbon gas could cause an explosion under the lakebed.
  • The Straits of Mackinac is a treaty-protected site of deep spiritual and cultural significance for Anishinaabe peoples. All twelve of Michigan’s federally recognized Tribes have passed resolutions calling for the decommissioning of Line 5

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Paula Gray, Environmental Defence,