“The worst possible place for an oil spill.” That’s what University of Michigan researchers call the Mackinac Straits where strong, erratic currents and thick winter ice make the consequences of an oil spill disastrous. Despite these warnings, deep beneath the Straits lies Line 5 -- an aging set of twin pipelines that transports 23 million gallons of oil every day.
At 64 years old, the pipeline is showing its age. There are gaps in its protective coating, and it's missing critical supports that anchor the pipeline against the lake’s floor. This level of deterioration is predictable -- the pipeline only had a fifty-year lifespan. But even before Line 5 passed its life expectancy, it posed an unnecessary risk to our Great Lakes. There have been 15 documented leaks along other portions of the pipeline since 1988.
Compounding our concerns, Line 5 is owned by Enbridge, the Canadian company responsible for the 2010 Kalamazoo River disaster -- the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history.
The risk our Great Lakes and coastal communities is simply too high. It’s time to retire Line 5.