Curious what MiCAN commented to the U.S. Army Corps, encouraging it to expand its scope of environmental review? Read our full submission here.
What's at Stake
Enbridge asserts its Line 5 oil pipelines are a critical piece of energy infrastructure for Michigan residents, and has proposed boring a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac to continue transporting crude oil and natural gas. But before issuing a permit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE) must administer an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). If conducted properly, this could effectively halt Enbridge's plans to continue transporting oil through the Great Lakes.
Urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Consider Climate in Its Environmental Impact Statement
Public Hearing Schedule
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold three public hearings to accept comments on their proposed scope for the Environmental Impact Statement. Please join us for at least one, and come prepared with your take on our below talking points!
Thursday, September 1 | 5 - 8 p.m. EDT
- Virtual (via Zoom)
- By phone at 309-205-3325 using Webinar ID: 835 9013 1384
Thursday, September 8 | 3 - 8 p.m. EDT
- In-Person at Little Bear Arena, St. Ignace
* MiCAN is a member of the larger Oil & Water Don't Mix campaign that is offering transportation to this key event! RSVP to attend the ONE in-person hearing opportunity, and view details for joining by bus from Ann Arbor, Lansing or Traverse City.
Thursday, October 6 | 1 - 4 p.m. EDT
- Virtual (via Zoom)
- By phone at 309-205-3325 using Webinar ID: 829 6174 3672
Wondering What to Say?
The bullets below summarize the suggested message MiCAN invites all Michiganders to relay:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' EIS must incorporate adequate analysis of climate impacts of the proposed Great Lakes Tunnel. While we acknowledge the Corps’ inclusion of climate as it launches its scoping process, we recognize and caution that it is not sufficient to a construction project of this magnitude.
- In recent MPSC testimony, four experts presented clear evidence that the tunnel will exacerbate the climate crisis, contributing an estimated 27 million metric tons of CO2 emissions—equivalent to 10 coal plants—every year, and costing $41 billion in net climate impacts.
- The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process is long and detailed, but what we include now in the scope will affect the alternatives available in the future. Therefore, it is crucial that the purpose and need statement in the Corps’ notice be adjusted: the imperative need is not to build a new Straits crossing, but rather to assure the energy requirements of those currently served by refineries relying on Line 5 are met with minimum adverse effect on the environment and tribal resources.
- The Corps' scope cannot simply seek alternative paths to operating a crude oil pipeline across the straits to serve downstream refineries at current levels; it must weigh all reasonable ways to meet whatever the energy needs may be over the next 40 years.
- For purposes of this EIS, the decision cannot be between building the tunnel or leaving the current Line 5 pipes in place. The real choice the Corps must consider is what is best for our climate future: allowing Line 5 to operate under the Straits indefinitely, or shutting it down as the governor has ordered.
Not only are there further alternatives to an oil pipeline in delivering energy to consumers, but there are massive and enduring impacts beyond the identified and immediate threat of a spill.
- We urge the Corps to strongly consider the merit in digging a tunnel intended to continue transporting oil for up to 99 years at the same time that more and more communities commit to carbon neutrality or 100% renewable energy by 2050, if not sooner. Constructing the Line 5 tunnel would undermine Michigan’s climate goals.
- The responsibility of all parts of the federal government, including the Corps, is to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels—not slow it down. There are no circumstances that justify locking in fossil fuels by investing in new infrastructure like the proposed Great Lakes Tunnel. The inclusion of climate in a proper EIS scope will plainly beg the question of shutting Line 5 down, and clear the way for the fossil fuel-free future to which we've committed.
Submit Written Testimony
Can't make it in person? You can still send the Army Corps a message with your recommendation of what they need to consider as they examine the EIS scope. Written comments will be accepted until Friday, October 14.* We encourage you to copy and customize our above stance for submission at the Army Corps of Engineers' website.
* We are working for an extension of the public comment period!
Given the great public interest in this Proposed Project, the Corp should maximize opportunities to allow for public participation. While we appreciate the opportunity to participate both in person and virtually, providing notice about a public meeting a little over a week before the first meeting and just 16 days before the in-person meeting does not ensure adequate public participation.