Otsego County is a gas- and oil-producing county. Since the 1970s, Otsego County oil has been extracted and utilized worldwide, using Line 5 to deliver this natural resource to market. This function not only supports local jobs, but also generates local tax revenue.

In 2018, Enbridge paid $125,980.64 in taxes to Otsego County; the five counties that surround the Mackinac Straits are a whopping $2,369,865.94. This revenue supports public transportation, senior ctizen services and police, fire and ambulance services — among others.

Preserving the quality of the Great Lakes is important to me and to many others. That’s partly why I am stunned at the reaction to Enbridge’s plans for Line 5.

Enbridge has agreed to invest $500 million to build a tunnel to make Line 5 even safer, and our governor wants us to say no? Why should we cut a reliable and affordable supply of propane in favor of sporadic supplies and premium prices?

I can’t decide if that thinking stems from ignorance or political pandering. What I do know is that it shows disregard for the majority of Michigan residents, more than 50 percent of whom support construction of a utility tunnel.

Building a new Line 5 in a tunnel with concrete walls would remove the pipeline from the water. A tunnel would also eliminate the risk of disrupting the flow of vital natural resources.

For the sake of future generations, let’s invest our confidence in a safer, efficient pipeline that will continue to deliver our energy while protecting the Straits that we treasure.

About the author: Robert Pallarito is an Otsego County commissioner.

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