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Lansing State Journal: It's Time to Break Michigan's Fossil Fuel Addiction

And that means no pipeline, no tunnel. Written by Julia Cole, guest writer at the Lansing State Journal.

WRITTEN BY: Julia Cole, guest writer at the Lansing State Journal
HEADSHOT PHOTO: Courtesy of Julia Cole

Downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan


Nearly every day brings more news of unfolding climate chaos, here and around the world.  Meanwhile, every day, Line 5 transports over a half million barrels of liquid fossil fuels through the Straits of Mackinac, in a pipeline that is years past its sell-by date, gambling with our irreplaceable Great Lakes and fueling the fires of the climate crisis.

Julia Cole

Why are we allowing this to happen? We must shut down Line 5 to protect our health, water, economy and way of life.

Enbridge would like us to believe that routing the pipeline through a deep tunnel would make this situation safer. But their proposed tunnel supports emissions of 27 megatons of carbon dioxide each year, relative to a no-pipeline, no-tunnel scenario — that’s the equivalent of roughly 10 coal-fired power plants, costing an estimated $1 billion in climate damages yearly.

Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure, including the Enbridge tunnel, strengthens our unhealthy reliance on fossil fuels and commits us to a dangerous future. The Enbridge tunnel would come online no sooner than 2028, yet by 2030 we must cut greenhouse emissions by 50 percent, and to net-zero by mid-century, to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

This is the moment to say no.

Climate change is enabling disasters across the country and around the world. In southeast Michigan, devastating floods struck communities last June, as several inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours. This is just one example of a clear trend toward more extreme rainfall across the region. We’re also feeling the heat; Michigan has warmed by nearly two degrees just since 1970. Wild swings in springtime temperatures threaten sensitive crops like fruits, while more spring rainfall leaves fields soggy and wreaks havoc on farmers’ planting schedules.

Climate impacts hit home in a scary way, especially for elderly and at-risk populations. If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced fast, Michigan and the Great Lakes region will see more premature deaths from extreme heat, declining air quality, and other adverse health effects. The costs of flood disaster recovery and agricultural damages will rise.

If we are serious about protecting the health of our residents and supporting the stability of our climate, saying no to a new tunnel is essential.

To keep warming in check and rein in runaway climate catastrophes, we must reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 — as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has pledged to do.

We can do this.


This story appeared in Lansing State Journal. Republished with permission.

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