A group of state Representatives from Northern Michigan, including Reps. Cam Cavitt, Neil Friske, Greg Markkanen, Dave Prestin, and Curt VanderWall, today celebrated the Michigan Public Service Commission’s approval of a key permit allowing Enbridge to replace and improve the local Line 5 passageway.
“This is a huge win for Northern Michigan,” said VanderWall, of Ludington. “Line 5 is crucial to our region given the number of people who heat their homes with fuel that comes directly from the pipeline. Shutting it down would burden folks who are already struggling to make ends meet with even higher costs.”
The Michigan Public Service Commission ruled in a 2-0 decision (the third being an abstention) to grant Enbridge a key permit, which is the first step towards breaking ground on a new safer pipeline tunnel.
“I’m thankful to the commission for realizing that the alternative options are not really options at all,” said Prestin, of Cedar River. “Our whole infrastructure is built around propane, and Line 5 is the major artery supplying that resource. Cutting it off would be lethal.”
“MPSC made the right call today, but it doesn’t excuse the overzealous effort to delay and kill the Enbridge proposal,” said Cavitt, R-Cheboygan. “The operation of Line 5 is essential. Enbridge is one the largest taxpayers in Cheboygan County. Without Line 5 tax revenue, entire school districts would be forced to close.”
The commission granted permission to re-route a 4-mile section of the 645-mile petroleum pipeline into a concrete tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The pipeline delivers 22.7 million gallons of crude oil per day that is refined into propane, used for heating and cooking.
“This is the best and safest option for Yoopers,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “There is no other realistic way to move natural gas without a pipeline. Trucking would be nearly impossible and would have a far greater negative impact. This is a common-sense solution that makes sense for everyone.”
“This is the safest and most efficient way to do one of the things Michigan does best: harness natural resources into power and opportunity for the entire nation and beyond,” said Friske, of Charlevoix. “The fight isn’t over just yet, but the biggest battle so far has now been won.”
The decision comes as a positive step for the future of the pipeline, though various environmental groups have said they plan to challenge the decision in court.
“Pvt. Karna served his country bravely in its time of greatest need,” Markkanen said. “As a fellow veteran, I’m honored to introduce a bill to memorialize his service and sacrifice in the Painsedale and South Range communities.”
“The governor’s new Good Jobs 2.0 proposal has a lot in common with Hollywood’s recent obsession with remaking classic movies; the only difference being, unlike many of the movies, the original Good Jobs program was terrible too,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “Michigan doesn’t need to lure coastal corporations into our state so we can have more big fancy ribbon cutting events. We need a real economic development strategy to support our struggling small businesses across Michigan.”
“There are so many Yoopers with Finnish heritage, making celebrating Finnish history all the more important in the Upper Peninsula,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “Saunas are essential to Finnish culture. Finns of all generations enjoy traditional saunas for cleansing and as a vital source of relaxation and socializing.”
“The U.P. depends on reliable mail service just like any urban area would,” said Rep. Greg Markkanen, R-Hancock. “It sure feels like, on a good day, the U.P. is merely forgotten. On days like today, we get targeted. If I had to choose, ignoring us would be preferable. It isn’t broke, please leave it alone. The federal government promises that only five non-management employees will be laid off, however, others may be required to transfer. Losing more of our jobs and citizens is not what the Upper Peninsula and the state of Michigan need right now.”