Permitting process starts for Line 5 – a bad idea slowly moving forward

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issues initial permits for Line 5 Tunnel under the Straights of Mackinac.

Nathan Murphy

Beth LeBlanc at the Detroit News is reporting that the Michigan DEQ issued the permits allowing Enbridge to start the geologic survey needed to plan the engineering and construction specifics for their tunnel under the Straights of Mackinac. 

From the article:

 The state of Michigan has issued its first permit to Enbridge Energy for a controversial Line 5 tunnel construction project, even as the governor and attorney general have questioned the legality of the construction agreement.

Weeks prior to the passage of legislation enabling the project, Enbridge submitted permit applications to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers to begin taking rock and soil samples from the area, said Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy.

The DEQ on Tuesday issued the permit.

While this step is not unexpeccted, it is disappointing. I know Environment Michigan members, and Michiganders around the state, care deeply about our precious Great Lakes. People are angry about the threat the existing pipeline presents to the ecology of the Straights and the communities that rely on it. This is the next step in the tunnel construction process that will keep the existing pipeline running for ten years. That’s ten more years of unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes.

It’s also the wrong way to go for the planet. It’s a $500 million dollar investment in more fossil fuel infrastructure when we know we need to move away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible. And, it’s a waste of taxpayer money. Last year, the outgoing state legislature and governor approved several million dollars to oversee this bad idea. This pipeline/tunnel bad idea just keeps getting worse. 

It’s time to put a stop to it.



State Director


Nathan Murphy