COLUMBUS- State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today announced the House passage of House Resolution (HR) 13 in a 73-10 vote. HR 13 urges Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Director of Natural Resources Dan Eichinger to make all efforts to keep Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 operating. The resolution previously earned unanimous support in the Transportation and Public Safety Committee.
“Today’s vote was a strong, bipartisan show of support for Ohio’s workers, and I hope that passage of this resolution will sway Governor Whitmer to reverse course on this issue. The closure of Line 5 not only threatens to disrupt the region’s energy supply, it threatens hundreds of good-paying union jobs. The effects of this decision will fall heavily on working-class families and communities,” said Rep. Sheehy.
“I have enormous respect for Governor Whitmer, and for her leadership in the State of Michigan. Why, however, in the midst of a global pandemic, are we risking hundreds of jobs when Enbridge is already working on a safer alternative to the current pipeline?”
In November 2020, Gov. Whitmer terminated the 68-year-old easement that allowed Enbridge to operate and maintain the Line 5 pipeline and ordered its closure by May 2021. Line 5 services two refineries in Oregon, Ohio. The two refineries employ over 1,200 workers, in addition to contractors for the refineries who employ hundreds more. Critics of the move say the closure of Line 5 will disrupt the transportation of fuels throughout the region. Northwest Ohio, which would be hit particularly hard by a disruption in this supply chain, houses a major source of jet fuel for several regional and international airports, particularly Detroit and Cleveland.
In January 2021, Enbridge Energy was issued permits for the Line 5 Tunnel Project by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. This project would replace the section of Line 5 that lays on the lakebed of the Mackinac Straits with a new line enclosed in a tunnel hundreds of feet below the lakebed.