Friday the State of Michigan announced the MI Propane Security Plan, a multiagency effort focused on ensuring Michigan’s energy needs are met when Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipelines that run through the Great Lakes shut down. Governor Whitmer ordered the easement for the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinaw to be withdrawn, taking effect on May 21st. Enbridge meanwhile has filed Federal Suit, and has said they do not intend to shut down the pipeline. According to the state, the five point plan would Leverage the tools of state government to encourage the development of alternative sourcing options, Monitor propane supply and coordinate responses to potential disruptions with the energy industry, Maximize propane efficiency while reducing energy costs in Michigan through efficiency, weatherization, and the transition to electrification and renewable energy, Protect consumers from price gouging and provide accessible heating assistance for families in need, and Send clear signals to encourage market participants to invest in the development of alternative propane sourcing options.
Meanwhile, a group of U-P Lawmakers, including State Senator Ed McBroom and Representative Beau LaFave strongly denounced the plan, saying that “Environmentalists within state bureaucracy continued the campaign of misinformation against Line 5 — a vital source of energy and jobs to the U.P. and the state of Michigan,” .“Of particular importance to the U.P., this plan will cost taxpayers significantly, while limiting the free market and competition and, at the same time, ignoring a $500 million viable solution currently on the table that would address problems and be completely paid for by the pipeline operator. Enbridge is currently seeking state and federal permits for a a new pipeline that would be housed in a tunnel to be drilled beneath the straits — an agreement that was reached in 2018 between Enbridge and then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Line 5 is part of Enbridge’s Lakehead network, which carries oil from western Canada to refineries in the U.S. and Ontario. The pipeline moves about 23 million gallons daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario, traversing parts of northern Michigan and Wisconsin.