The Record-Eagle recently featured an editorial urging policymakers to listen to “Mother Nature” and to get the Line 5 pipeline out of the Straits of Mackinac.
While I didn’t agree with everything in the editorial, I think we can all agree with their conclusion. That’s why I’m glad that the state and the company that owns the pipeline have agreed to a plan to bury the already-safe line 100 feet below the lake bed in a state-of-the-art tunnel.
All that’s left is to do the work! Remember, building the Great Lakes Tunnel is a matter of law. The plan was negotiated, approved and signed by the governor of the state of Michigan just over a year ago, and it’s been upheld in the courtroom since.
A couple key points to consider: Line 5 is already safe. It hasn’t leaked in the Straits and is monitored constantly and regularly inspected. It must meet or exceed regulatory requirements at the state and federal level. Science, over emotion, is key to successful projects.
It’s important to note, too, that neither I nor Mr. Timm — whose work is cited in the Record-Eagle’s editorial — is a pipeline design or operation expert. I am an economic developer, and he is a retired engineer from Dow Chemical and special adviser to an environmental group called FLOW, which opposes the tunnel concept.
From an economic development standpoint, the Great Lakes Tunnel will make the already-safe pipeline safer, protect and create Michigan jobs and protect our beautiful lakes for generations to come. The Great Lakes Tunnel is a win for union workers, for construction workers, for manufacturers, for local governments, for small businesses and family farms. It’s a win for those who rely on the propane Line 5 delivers and on the products it moves that can be manufactured into everything from jet fuel to toothbrushes.
But there truly is good news for Mother Nature. The Great Lakes Tunnel will allow for fish, wildlife and the lake’s ecosystem to remain undisturbed, and according to a non-partisan analysis performed by independent experts for the state of Michigan, the tunnel reduces the risk of an oil spill in the Straits to virtually zero. Honestly, isn’t that what we all want?
It is time to work collaboratively and complete this critical project. Democrats and Republicans support the Great Lakes Tunnel. Business and labor does, too. And because it impacts the entire state of Michigan, Yoopers support it as do Detroiters.
The Great Lakes Tunnel plan makes sense for Michigan.
About the author: Amy Clickner is the chief executive officer of the Lake Superior Community Partnership, an economic development organization founded 22 years ago after the closure of the KI Sawyer Air Force base near Marquette, Michigan. About the forum: The forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record-Eagle readers in their areas of expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by emailing email@example.com. Please include biographical information and a photo.