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Yvonne Besyk: Protect the Straits of Mackinac

Yvonne Besyk: Protect the Straits of Mackinac

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Line 5 endangers the Straits of Mackinac. It benefits a foreign corporation, not Michigan’s citizens and visitors. Governor Whitmer revoked the Line 5 easement last Friday. But this action does not stop Enbridge's application process to construct an oil tunnel through the Great Lakes.

Have you been to the Straits of Mackinac? Though I have spent a lot of time in Northern Wisconsin, and the UP, I hadn’t visited Mackinac Straits until four years ago. And it did not disappoint.

I was stunned by the clear water, tall cedars, Museum of Ojibwa Culture … Mystery Spot (hard to explain, you just had to be there). And the bridge! Oh, the view of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron from the bridge.

After learning that an easement allowing Enbridge, a CN corporation, to operate an aging dual pipeline that ran under the Straits, was under review I was concerned. According to Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Line 5 crosses 16 tributaries within 9 miles of Lake Michigan — 11 of those less than 4 miles from the lake in the Upper Peninsular of Michigan. That means an oil spill in this area would have a high likelihood of reaching Lake Michigan. And Enbridge’s safety record is dicey with 8 known Line 5 violations and an excessive number of historical leaks across its pipelines.

I applaud Gov. Whitmer’s decision to revoke the Line 5 easement. This is a big win for fans of the Great Lakes. As for the new tunnel application, it doesn’t make sense to me. Particularly given risks, the declining oil and gas industry and a necessary transition to clean energy to save our planet.

Yvonne Besyk, Salem Lakes

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