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Kalamazoo Settlement Renews Calls to Shut Down Line 5

The Kalamazoo River settlement requires that Enbridge strengthen supports for other pipelines in the Great Lakes. (Terry Johnston/Flickr)
The Kalamazoo River settlement requires that Enbridge strengthen supports for other pipelines in the Great Lakes. (Terry Johnston/Flickr)
July 21, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – The settlement reached in the Kalamazoo River oil spill is intensifying calls from citizen and environmental groups to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

A $177 million federal oil spill settlement with Enbridge Energy Partners was announced Wednesday for the 2010 pipeline rupture.

Deb Hansen, a spokeswoman for Concerned Citizens of Cheboygan and Emmet County, contends the settlement is inadequate, and says it shows the risk the state is taking for continuing to allow Enbridge pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

"We are seeing a pattern of inaction in Lansing around critical issues related to water,” she states. “That would include Flint, that would include the water shut-off in Detroit, and that would include Line 5 in the Straits."

Hansen says the cost of an oil spill in the Great Lakes would cost billions of dollars, far more than the current settlement.

Studies commissioned by Gov. Rick Snyder analyzing Enbridge's pipelines through the straits will not be available until next year.

Hansen and others argue oil transport should be stopped at least through the winter months until the reports are released.

Mariah Urueta, an organizer with Food and Water Watch in Detroit, says if Line 5 were to rupture, 700 miles of coastline would be damaged.

She adds it's an issue that touches the hearts of many Michiganders so people are taking the initiative in their own communities.

"Over 55 local resolutions throughout the state of Michigan have been passed calling for Line 5 to be shut down, so cities, townships, counties, the momentum is really growing and Attorney General (Bill) Schuette and Gov. Snyder need to listen to the people of Michigan," she stresses.

The Kalamazoo River settlement requires that Enbridge strengthen supports for other pipelines in the Great Lakes, including Line 5, which is more than 60 years old.

After the settlement was announced, an Enbridge official said the company will never forget the impact of the spill and is committed to prioritize safety and environmental protection.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI