by Tyler Arnold
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine sent a letter to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asking her to reconsider her plan to shut down the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. The pipeline is under the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Michigan with Lake Huron.
Shutting down the pipeline could raise fuel prices, cause job losses and disrupt airline schedules, according to the letter. It would also put an end to a tunnel construction project, which employs about 1,000 people in both states.
In 2018, a tugboat anchor struck and damaged part of the pipeline, leading the General Assembly to approve the construction of a tunnel around the pipes. After taking office, Whitmer asked Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to review the legality of this approval that was signed into law by her predecessor, Rick Snyder.
Whitmer wants to force the pipeline out of the straits altogether because of environmental concerns about the pipeline bursting.
In DeWine’s letter, cosigned by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted after they both met with Whitmer, DeWine requested that Whitmer take measures to protect the environment without shutting down the line completely.
“We ask that you please consider options to improve the safety of Line 5 that does not result in taking the pipeline offline,” DeWine’s letter read. “If we can be of any assistance as you continue to evaluate the situation and seek resolution, do not hesitate to call.”
In his letter, DeWine said that blocking the pipeline would adversely impact Northern Ohio and Southeast Michigan due to the two refineries at the states’ border that provide gas, diesel and jet fuel to the region. He said that blocking the pipeline would disrupt aviation jet fuel moving from the Ohio refineries to the Detroit Metro Airport, which is where the airport gets most of its fuel.
Enbridge has continued its pre-construction work despite Whitmer’s threats to shut it down.
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Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia, Ohio and Michigan for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.
Background Photo “Satelite Picture of Lake Huron” by NASA. CC BY 2.0.