(The Center Square) – An Ohio lawmaker went on the road to try to convince Michigan officials to abandon plans to force the shutdown of a fuel pipeline that could cost jobs in the Buckeye State.
Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-Winchester, testified last week before the Michigan Senate’s Energy Committee and met with the state’s Senate leadership in response to the recently adopted Ohio Resolution 13, which urged Michigan to keep the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline operating.
“I drove to Michigan for one reason: to protect Ohio jobs,” Baldridge said. “We cannot allow a political decision to get in the way of hardworking Ohioans providing for their families. House Resolution 13 would keep Line 5 safely operating and protect Ohio jobs and protect the Great Lakes Region’s shared economy.”
A shutdown affects jobs and fuel availability in the region, according to Enbridge, leaving Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan and Canadian provinces Ontario and Quebec with a 14.7-million-U.S.-gallons-a-day supply shortage of gas, diesel and jet fuel. That represents about 45% of the current supply.
A shutdown could cause the loss of $5.4 billion in economic output to Ohio and southeast Michigan, the company said.
“As a former county commissioner, I understand the real local impact that these changes in energy infrastructure create,” Baldridge said. “This decision by Michigan’s executive branch will negatively affect the everyday lives of Ohioans and Michiganders alike. Every job matters, and every job should be fought for.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger filed a lawsuit Nov. 13 in Ingham County Court demanding Enbridge cease Line 5 operations by May 2021. The easement has been in place since 1953.
The Line 5 pipeline services two Oregon refineries in northwest Ohio. According to Ohio officials, closing the line would cause a significant disruption in the supply chain, which serves as a source of jet fuel for several regional and international airports, particularly in Cleveland and Detroit.
Whitmer and Eichinger said the administration’s actions are based on what they are characterizing as Enbridge’s violation of the public trust doctrine, which protects the state’s natural resources.
Among the violations cited by the governor are “the unreasonable risk that continued operation of the dual pipelines poses to the Great Lakes,” according to a November news release. Whitmer cited events in April 2018 and another in 2019 in which Line 5 was damaged.
The first event was an anchor strike from a commercial vehicle, and the second, reported by the company in June, was from either an anchor or cable from ships. Although pipeline coatings and a support were damaged in these incidents, the pipelines did not leak any oil into the Great Lakes.
J.D. Davidson is regional editor with The Center Square, a project of the 501(c)(3) Franklin News Foundation, headquartered in Chicago.
This article was originally published by The Center Square and is republished with permission.