Line 5 shouldn't operate any longer
Line 5 shouldn’t be operating as is. I should know; I spent eight years on the management team of a large U.S. liquids pipeline company, including serving on the Board of Colonial Pipeline (yes, that one). Pipelines are, generally, among the safest means of transporting the fuels we use. But they are human endeavors, and we know these can fail. Buildings can collapse, and pipelines can leak. The current state of Line 5 on the bottom of Lake Michigan presents a case where the chances of a significant leak are higher than for many pipelines due to the condition and location of the line. The impact of such a leak would be devastating and long lasting.
What about the 15,000 jobs the Michigan Petroleum Association claims Line 5 supports? Nonsense. The gas stations, C-stores and propane services these jobs represent will be there with or without Line 5. Getting fuels to customers is a good example of the kind of problem that our market-based economy routinely solves.
Engineering a safe tunnel crossing under the lakes is certainly technically feasible. What it would require, and whether it is a good idea, are separate questions to be answered. Meanwhile, the existing line should cease operation.
Lawrence B. Peck