Cheboygan County passes resolution supporting Enbridge's tunnel

Aug 27, 2019

Cheboygan County Commissioners passed a resolution to support Enbridge’s construction of a tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac Tuesday morning. 

Five counties — Cheboygan, Dickinson, Iron, Gogebic and Grand Traverse — have now passed nearly identical resolutions.

The agenda for Tuesday morning's meeting of the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners, as well as a copy of the resolution they adopted.
Credit Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

  The tunnel would house a replacement section of the Line 5 twin oil pipelines, which currently rest on the bottom of the straits. The resolution called for no interruption of service while tunnel work is completed. 

Twenty-two people, many of them Cheboygan County residents, spoke during public comment. All asked the board not to adopt the resolution or to postpone voting.

Commissioner Steve Warfield introduced the resolution and declined to discuss why he proposed the agenda item, saying only that he believes the resolution speaks for itself. 

“I’ve certainly listened to both sides of the equation, and this is the decision we’ve reached today,” he said.

Commissioner Mary Ellen Tryban said the board respects the waters, and she personally feels that the tunnel is the best alternative. 

Two of five commissioners voted against the resolution. Commissioner Cal Gouine was one of two “no” votes. During the board discussion period, he asked about the chances of the tunnel project actually being completed. 

“I mean this is quite a feat,” Gouine said.

Several members of the public expressed their displeasure after the resolution was adopted.

“Shame,” yelled Karen Martin of Cheboygan. “We will remember who did this!”

Vince Lumetta, who lives in Cheboygan County and spoke during the public comment period, said after the vote he was “very disappointed.”

“I don’t think that the commissioners served the needs of the public. I think they showed that they’re beholden to Enbridge,” he said.

In 2015, Cheboygan County passed a resolution calling for a restriction of flow through Line 5.