For the second time today, I’m writing about how many Republicans can be trusted to do the right thing for the Great Lakes more often than one might think.
While Republicans often come out opposed to environmentally friendly legislation (think of the fight to push “clean coal” over true clean energy, or the bizarre denial of climate science), Michigan Republicans often draw the line at the state border. And that’s in full display in the Michigan Senate, where Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge has introduced Senate Bill 292.
SB 292 would direct the state to hire a third party to study Enbridge Line 5, the oil pipelines running under the Straits of Mackinac. If the name “Enbridge” sounds familiar to you, that’s because this is the same company responsible for our country’s largest inland oil spill, which took place near the Kalamazoo River in 2010.
“I don’t trust a company from Canada to tell us they have inspected the lines in Michigan waters and insure that we’re safe,” says Jones.
Jones points out another one of the company’s pipelines ruptured near Marshall in 2010. Roughly a million gallons of crude oil seeped into the surrounding soil and a nearby creek. The oil eventually fouled a portion of the Kalamazoo River.
Enbridge spent more than $1 billion on the cleanup. Part of its response to the Marshall spill was to buy up homes in the affected area. Sen. Jones says one of the homes the company bought belonged to his mother-in-law.
Naturally, the prospect of the same thing happening in Michigan’s cherished Mackinac region is unthinkable. And it’s not just liberals and progressives who can’t think it. Take a drive in the otherwise deep red Mackinac area in the summer and you’ll see “No Line 5” yard signs dotting the countryside.
Even Republican lawmakers understand what a disaster an oil spill in the Straits would be. And that’s why Jones is ready to shut down Line 5 if they pipes are found to be unsound (SPOILER ALERT: they already have been).
It’ll be interesting to see what progress this makes in the state Legislature.