Gov. Whitmer considering a tunnel in the Straits

Apr 17, 2019

Credit MARK BRUSH / MICHIGAN RADIO

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in an interview with the Detroit News that she is considering a tunnel for an oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. A tunnel is one of several proposed alternatives to the Line 5 oil pipelines.

In a written statement to IPR, the Governor's Office says they're working with Enbridge Energy on the future of Line 5.

"The Governor is committed to a solution that protects the Great Lakes, removes the pipelines from the Straits as soon as possible, and provides for the Upper Peninsula’s energy needs," the statement reads. "Discussions with Enbridge and stakeholders are ongoing, and those discussions will help advise the Governor on the next steps moving forward."

Jim Olson, director of the advocacy group For the Love of Water, says this runs counter to what Gov. Whitmer has said in the past.

"The basic message of the governor has been to remove crude oil from the Straits of Mackinac," Olson says.

Under a deal struck last year, Enbridge Energy was allowed to build a tunnel for a new pipeline. But Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel found that unconstitutional, and the Governor stopped all construction on it.

In a statement, Enbridge says they are working with the Governor to find a solution.

"We continue to provide information to the Governor’s office and to seek clarification from the Administration on a path forward for the tunnel project. We believe the project is the best way to protect the waters of the Great Lakes while ensuring families, manufacturers and other businesses safely receive the energy transported through Line 5."