Joint Senate panel hears testimony on Line 5 pipeline

The Senate’s Energy and Technology Committee and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony from several Canadian officials at a joint hearing Tuesday regarding the Line 5 pipeline. Those testifying included Minister Bob Bailey from Sarnia, Ontario — a member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament.

As chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee, I was able to hear from Minister Bailey and other officials who brought important perspective on the need to protect Line 5.

The governor is directing the closure of line 5 for May of 2021. Her solution is rail and trucking to transport petroleum. If safety and environmental protection are what we are after, we need to weigh these matters objectively instead of subjectively. I think we will find continuation of what we have now while we build an alternative to Line 5 is far better and safer than other considerations.

The focus of the testimony was the health and safety of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada.

We are only a few weeks away from the date our governor set to close Line 5, which would cause considerable economic disruption of Great Lakes states and Ontario. The governor is proposing to withdraw from an international treaty — a decision she has no authority to make.

In January, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy issued some of the permits required for the building of a tunnel for the replacement Line 5 pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

EGLE concluded that the proposed construction of a tunnel beneath the lakebed by the energy company Enbridge — the company operating Line 5 — can be done in compliance with Michigan’s environmental laws.

Enbridge has pending requests for approval of the tunnel project before the Michigan Public Service Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Once completed, the new tunnel could also be used to carry electric lines, broadband cables and other utility infrastructure.