GUEST VIEW: Enbridge agreement a small step in the right direction

The following editorial was published in the Dec. 2 edition of the Alpena News:

(AP) We suppose the agreement announced (last) week between Michigan officials and Enbridge regarding oil transportation through Line 5 in the Straits is a step in the right direction.

If that’s true, however, consider it a baby step.

In our estimation a lot more needs done by Enbridge to assure the public of the safety of the line. And, honestly, we’re not sure the public ever would believe it at this point. Assurances we have heard in the past from the Canadian oil transportation company have fallen short on the truth meter.

Gov. Rick Snyder and Enbridge officials announced an agreement (Nov. 27) that would require Enbridge to replace a portion of Line 5 running underwater in the St. Clair River with a new pipeline through a tunnel under the river bed. A similar study will be done on the Straits portion of Line 5. And, in periods of sustained bad weather, it was agreed that Enbridge would shut down the operation because of the greater risk posed to the Great Lakes should a spill occur.

While State Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, was supportive of the agreement, she indicated that she wished it had gone further.

“In my opinion it doesn’t go far enough. We need to address the issue of the thick ice that accumulates in the Straits in the wintertime, and the impact it could have on preventing crews from responding in the event of a spill. I will continue to monitor the situation and fight to ensure that Enbridge is meeting their obligations.”

Let’s face it, the negative publicity Enbridge has suffered from Line 5 over the past years certainly has to be impacting the company’s image. At some point one wonders how long Enbridge can sustain such negative press without it impacting their financial profit and loss statements as well.

If Enbridge officials had been truthful with the public from the start, that would be one thing. The fact that they haven’t only has made matters worse.

Michigan officials can’t risk a disaster in the Straits. Line 5 is an environmental nightmare that needs an objective solution found quickly.

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