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MI Group: Oil Pipeline Tunnel Plan Not In Sync with State’s Climate Goals

By Lily Bohlke – Public News Service

This Earth Month, Michigan leaders took the opportunity to release a new roadmap for a carbon-neutral state economy by 2050.

In addition to highlighting state agencies’ plans to power state-owned buildings and facilities with renewables, reduce energy usage, electrify vehicles and offer more recycling services, the plan calls for action from local governments, businesses and institutions, communities and individual households.

Sean McBrearty, Michigan legislative and policy director for Clean Water Action, said the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes a clear case there is no time to waste.

“The impacts we’re already going to see from climate change are extreme,” McBrearty asserted. “To avoid the absolute worst impacts of climate change, we need to decarbonize now. ”

McBrearty is also campaign coordinator for the coalition Oil and Water Don’t Mix, which advocates for shutting down the Line 5 dual pipelines running through the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge Energy has said there is currently no alternative to deliver the energy Line 5 transports, and it would take significant energy to build infrastructure to do so.

McBrearty countered experts have testified before the Michigan Public Service Commission, pointing out a plan to build a tunnel around the pipeline would add 27 million metric tons of carbon pollution to Michigan’s output, which is not in line with the state’s overall goals set out in the Michigan Healthy Climate roadmap.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that without drastic action, impacts from severe storms and flooding will continue to worsen. (Cory Seeman/Adobe Stock)


“It makes no sense when we’re trying to address the climate crisis to spend any amount of time building an oil tunnel underneath the Great Lakes that’s going to add the equivalent of 10 coal-fired power plants to the carbon load already in Michigan,” McBrearty contended.

The roadmap also emphasized environmental-justice principles and highlights the need to increase electric-vehicle adoption, improve public transit, make buildings and homes more energy efficient, protect land and water as well as drive innovation and clean-energy jobs.

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