Businesses create coalition against Line 5; congress introduces legislation to shut down pipeline

Mackinac Bridge

Nearly a dozen businesses from around the state, and country, formed a coalition this month opposing Enbridge’s line 5 under the straits of Mackinac.

Bell’s Brewery, Shepler’s Ferry, and national outdoor retailer Patagonia are among the businesses in the new Great Lakes Business Network.

The group says it’s hoping to raise awareness about what it calls the dangers of the pipeline and to push for legislation to shut it down.

Rich Bergmann is the owner of the Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company – one of the businesses in the coalition.

“I think the narrative to date has been the environmentalists and a liberal agenda is driving this topic. The candid truth is that we’ve talked about the economy up here, it’s jobs, it’s a way of life, it’s property values. There’s a very long list of things that are important to government officials that probably haven’t been put in the forefront.”

Chris Shepler is the owner of Shepler’s Ferry in Mackinac Island.

“We operate a business at ground zero, right there, not very far away from the pipeline, so the conversation in northern Michigan is a daily thing that happens all the time, not only with me but with friends of mine and the communities up here.”

In the meantime, Congress is considering a measure to force the pipeline to shutdown if it fails a safety study.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell represents Michigan.

She said the one-year study would be conducted by the federal department of transportation.

“The study will study the condition of the pipeline, and whether it is aged and there are threats that this pipe could burst.”

Dingell said if the study finds the pipeline to be unsafe – it would be shut down.

“This pipeline is 62 years old. And a University of Michigan study found last year that more than 700 miles of shoreline in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is potentially vulnerable to an oil spill in the straits. Do you know what that would do to our Great Lakes ecosystem? And the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are dependant on it?”