Democratic Presidential Candidate Speaks out Against Enbridge Line 5

(P&GJ) - One of the Democratic presidential candidates has spoken out against the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline tunnel calling for the project to be defeated.


The current governor of Washington and unlikely Democratic presidential nominee Jay Inslee called the Line 5 pipeline and proposed replacement tunnel “a clear and present threat to the health of the Great Lakes and to our climate" in a statement to AP.

"They threaten the clean drinking water that millions depend upon," Inslee said. "And they would lock in decades of climate pollution that we can't afford. ... This dangerous pipeline must be decommissioned, the proposed oil tunnel must not be built and clean alternatives must be explored immediately."

Climate change has been a centerpiece of the governor’s campaign and he is hoping the issue will help him stand out in a crowded field of nominees. Inslee may be hoping that taking a stand on such a high-profile issue will make him more attractive to local environmentalists ahead of the next debates in Detroit on July 30-31.

Inslee’s comments come at a difficult time for Enbridge as the company has been fighting Michigan’s Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer since January for the right to build the proposed tunnel.

Enbridge says the pipeline is in sound condition, but it reached a deal last year with Michigan's then-Republican governor, Rick Snyder, to decommission the underwater pipes and replace them with a new one that would be housed in a tunnel built in the bedrock beneath the straits.

Governor Whitmer, who replaced Snyder in January, tried to negotiate a faster timetable for the project, but talks broke down. State Attorney General Dana Nessel, also a Democrat, filed a lawsuit last month calling for the shutdown of the 66-year-old underwater pipes.

Inslee has also called on his fellow candidates to oppose the project and believes it should be a “major topic” of the upcoming debate.

Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy reiterated the company’s commitment to moving ahead with the $500 million tunnel project, which Enbridge says would reduce the risk of a leak in the Straits of Mackinac to "virtually zero" and be completed by 2024.

"The tunnel solution is the best long-term opportunity to secure the energy needs of the state while making an already safe pipeline even safer," Duffy said.

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