The U.S. Military Corps of Engineers (USACE) has introduced they won’t be contemplating the whole lot of the controversial Line 5 oil pipeline within the scope of their environmental evaluate course of for a proposed tunnel that will be constructed beneath the Straits of Mackinac.
In a June 28 memo, Charles M. Simon, chief of the Corps’ Regulatory Department, stated that based mostly on federal statutes, its environmental evaluate of Enbridge Power’s Nice Lakes tunnel venture can be restricted to the four-mile portion of the Line 5 pipeline that crosses the Straits.
That call has angered environmental activists who say the pipeline’s complete 645 mile size have to be thought-about, together with a deliberate rerouting of a 12-mile part of Line 5 across the Dangerous River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation in Wisconsin.
Line 5 foes need ‘broad, thorough evaluate’ of tunnel venture as Military Corps wraps public remark
Sean McBrearty is the marketing campaign coordinator with Oil and Water Don’t Combine, which opposes the pipeline.
“It’s deeply regarding that the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers is backtracking on finishing a radical environmental evaluation of the proposed Enbridge Line 5 oil tunnel venture,” he stated. “The Military Corps is wrongly discounting the Wisconsin reroute as linked to Enbridge’s oil tunnel venture, as an alternative solely contemplating options that ship oil throughout the Straits of Mackinac. Severely limiting their scope of evaluate to disregard local weather issues and forgo an unbiased evaluation of the development and planning is an assault on the Nice Lakes and our high quality of life.”
Nonetheless, Simon’s memo says the 2 initiatives have to be thought-about individually.
“Based mostly on our evaluate of feedback submitted so far, we aren’t conscious of any potential impacts of the proposed Tunnel Mission that will lengthen as far as to overlap with impacts of the proposed Reroute Mission in Wisconsin,” he stated. “These two initiatives are geographically distant and wouldn’t trigger impacts with additive or synergistic results that will require consideration collectively as cumulative actions.”
That call was welcomed by Enbridge Power, which had beforehand expressed displeasure on the prolonged USACE timeline that can push publication of a draft environmental impression assertion (EIS) to spring 2025.
Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy informed the Michigan Advance that the choice to solely evaluate the four-mile stretch of pipeline was an essential step in advancing the EIS course of and strikes the corporate nearer to securing well timed development of the Nice Lakes tunnel.
“Enbridge believes strongly in some great benefits of the tunnel to guard the setting, present dependable power, and bolster the regional economic system for years to come back,” stated Duffy. “We’re dedicated to this venture, the continued secure operation of the Line 5 crossing of the Straits, and making certain an uninterrupted provide of dependable, inexpensive power to Michigan and the area.”
“Line 5’s want has been firmly established during the last 70 years. Michigan and the whole area rely on the power that Line 5 safely delivers day-after-day. Line 5 is a essential supply of 540,000 barrels per day of pure gasoline liquids and crude oil for Michigan and the Nice Lakes Area,” he stated.
McBrearty says the choice is myopic contemplating the hazard they consider the pipeline poses to the Nice Lakes.
“The Line 5 oil tunnel stands in the way in which of ongoing nationwide and state commitments to combating the local weather disaster and constructing out twenty first century inexperienced infrastructure, and any motion to increase the lifespan of this 70-year-old ticking time bomb is a idiot’s errand,” he stated. “The choice from the Military Corps reaffirms our name to President [Joe] Biden to revoke the presidential allow for Line 5 – we’re only one oil spill away from catastrophe.”