Three counties pass same Line 5 resolution GT commissioners propose

Aug 20, 2019

A resolution supporting Enbridge Energy’s proposed tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac will appear before the Grand Traverse County Commissioners Wednesday morning, and it’s almost identical to what three Upper Peninsula counties already passed.

The tunnel through bedrock would replace the Line 5 twin oil pipelines that currently sit on the lakebed.

IPR reporter Kaye LaFond interviews Gogebic County Commissioner Joe Bonovetz.
Credit Noelle Riley

Dickinson County passed the resolution on June 24. Iron and Gogebic counties adopted nearly identical versions last week.

Dickinson County Commissioner Barbara Kramer said her board drafted a resolution after Enbridge appeared at the spring meeting of the Upper Peninsula Association of County Commissioners.

"They're anxious to promote this, and we're anxious to support it,” she said. “It's hands down just the best way to go."

She added that Enbridge did not suggest specific language for the resolution. She thinks Enbridge has been forthcoming and sees a tunnel as a more environmentally protective option.

Joe Bonovetz, a commissioner for Gogebic County, said it’s common to share resolutions between different U.P. counties.

“It was a resolution that we received from Dickinson County,” Bonovitz said. “They had passed it prior to us.”

Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy said the support reflects the company’s engagement efforts. 

“We've had several open houses, we're talking to people, we're talking to elected officials and answering questions, and we're seeing a lot of support for the tunnel project,” he said. “I think that's what you're seeing here."

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners introduced the same resolution at their last meeting on Aug. 7, but the vote was postponed after a motion was made by Commissioner Bran Jewett, R-Distict 3, citing that two commissioners were absent. 

Jewett sponsored the bill.

More than 20 people spoke in opposition to the resolution.