Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 1, 2013

Letters to the Editor: 11/1/2013

Oil spill horror

Imagine the consequences of a significant oil spill in the Great Lakes…. Enbridge’s Line 5 was installed under the turbulent Straits of Mackinac in 1953 when there was no bridge. Twenty two million gallons of crude flow through it daily. Heading south, the pipeline endangers the Inland Waterway. These are places I love and will defend.

Contrast Enbridge’s ambitious expansion plans in the Great Lakes basin with the federal regulatory body’s critique of a “pattern of failures” that “endanger life, property, and the environment.” The volume on Line 5 was recently increased without permit, hearing, or notice. This is unacceptable.

Enbridge was responsible for the largest tar sand spill in U.S. history in 2010, closing 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River for two years (and more than 800 other reported spills throughout the Midwest since 1999). The hemorrhage lasted 17 hours until reported. That must not happen here.

I study the network of pipelines carrying the toxic substances we depend on, converging on the largest freshwater system on the planet. Now is the time to raise holy hell for high standards, safety, and accountability. This situation must be taken very seriously by Governor Snyder, Congressman Beneshek, and Senators Levin and Stabenow.

Rev. Deb Hansen


Fracking must be banned

Regulations recently proposed by the state Department of Environmental Quality will do absolutely nothing to safeguard us from the dangers of fracking. The media continues to allow the DEQ to promote the myth that there has never been contamination of groundwater from fracking. The process of fracking, the injection of millions of gallons of fresh groundwater, mixed with toxic chemicals and sand, into the ground, is the contamination.

The Associated Press story is not accurate about the amount of water used to date. One well in Kalkaska used 21 million gallons according to the company’s own permit request. Permit requests are already granted for close to one billion gallons. The DEQ already uses the water assessment tool. It is known to be a flawed, and to our knowledge they have not denied a single permit. The toxic chemicals will still be kept secret under trade protection. Industrialization of forests and farmland is not even mentioned.

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