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Nessel

The scare tactics surrounding my lawsuit to decommission Line 5 have whipped up a frenzy of misinformation and concern.

In fact, we specifically asked the Court to shut down Line 5 only after a reasonable notice period to allow orderly adjustments.

Again, because it is being lost in the rhetoric: we are asking the Court to order a shutdown only AFTER plans are in place to deliver energy.

That means residents who get their propane via Line 5 aren’t being ignored, neglected, or frozen out of the process — literally or figuratively. In fact, Governor Whitmer established an Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force specifically to find alternative ways to provide energy to our residents.

We rely on Line 5 and its fossil fuel although it presents an extraordinary threat. If an anchor ruptures Line 5, we will experience immediate irreparable devastation to our environment and shut down the energy flow with no notice.

Our Line 5 dependency should have been addressed years ago with contingency plans and a redundant system that could be put in place immediately without disruption. But that’s not the case. What should have been done years ago must be done now.

Naturally, residents are concerned. They’ve been led to believe they won’t have propane to heat their homes or, if propane is available, prices will skyrocket.

Neither is true. Again, we asked the Court to shut down Line 5 after plans are in place. Nothing happens until there is a clear, reasonable and responsible plan to ensure access to energy.

Second, independent studies show that the net increase per gallon of propane should Line 5 shut down would be 5 – 11 cents, based on an average of about $2 per gallon. That assumes, of course, there is advance notice of a shutdown (versus a rupture) to allow time to arrange alternative supply, likely by truck or possibly rail. With an average household consumption of 120 gallons per month, the expected increase is anywhere from $6 to $13.20/month.

We have already taken aggressive action to reduce the overall energy burden for Michigan residents — saving customers more than $306 million by helping reduce rate increase requests so far this year. That includes a $11 million rate reduction for electric residential customers in UPPCO’s service area — which is primarily the Upper Peninsula. In addition, we worked hard to redirect a corporate tax rate windfall for utilities so that it flows back to customers. Finally, we actively worked with Consumers Energy and are working with DTE on their integrated resource plans to increase the availability of renewable energy and reduce the reliance on fossil fuel.

We are also working on increasing help for low-income customers in utility cases, including working with the Michigan Public Service Commission to find ways to increase funding for Michigan’s energy assistance programs.

We will continue to work in tandem with the Governor’s office, her UP Energy Task Force and the Michigan Public Service Commission to ensure alternatives are in place. No one is abandoning our residents.

Dana Nessel is Michigan’s 54th Attorney General. She has received numerous awards for her civil rights initiatives, including the “Champion of Justice” award from the Michigan State Bar Association.