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Group wants voters to ban oil shipments through Line 5

Apr 27, 2017

A group hopes to get a ballot question before voters that would ban Enbridge from transporting oil through its Line 5 pipelines, which run under the Straits of Mackinac.

Attorney Jeffrey Hank is with the group, Keep Our Lakes Great.

Hank says while there are other efforts underway, including studies assessing the risks of the pipeline and alternatives to it, "we can't dawdle. After Flint and all these other lessons, we've seen we can't just sit around. So if the state doesn't do something, we're going to put the question before voters."

The group has six months to get more than 250,000 signatures. Hank says he's confident that people will support the campaign, because of rising concerns about the safety of the pipelines.

The ballot initiative would allow Enbridge to ship natural gas and propane through the Line 5 pipelines, but not light crude oil or shale oil. Hanks says that means residents in northern lower Michigan and the U.P. would not lose access to fuel needed for home heating.

He says a spill of liquid propane or natural gas wouldn't be a serious threat to the lakes.

Enbridge maintains the pipeline is in very good condition and poses no risk of rupture.

In full disclosure, Enbridge Energy is a financial supporter of Michigan Radio.