“You’d never build a pipeline like this today.”
This recent statement by For the Love of Water’s executive director Liz Kirkwood reflects the consensus among Great Lakes environmentalists. For years they’ve been condemning the ancient twin Embridge Line 5 petroleum pipelines that run under the Straits of Mackinac between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. The pipes cross another 245 rivers and streams throughout the state.
Built in 1953 long before the term ‘environmentalist’ even existed, the oil pipeline was never designed to pump this much oil, last this long, or sustain the unyielding currents of the Great Lakes. Critics worry, and rightly so, that a major rupture could happen at any time, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the world’s largest fresh water preserve.
Embridge has the distinction of causing the second largest land-based oil spill, also in Michigan, in 2010. It was overshadowed by the greatest man made ecological disaster in US history that same summer when the Deep Water Horizon rig exploded, for months leaking hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
“If #Line5 is too vulnerable to use during storms, it’s too vulnerable to be entrusted with the safety of our Great Lakes. … Line 5 must be shut down permanently.” says me in the @detroitnews #ShutDownLine5, https://t.co/JlVQtATt4L
— Jessica Fujan (@Jessica_Fujan) November 30, 2017