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UP Lawmakers Voice Support For Enbridge Tunnel

State Representative Scott Dianda is voicing his support for a tunnel to replace the Enbridge Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.  The Michigan House of Representatives voted this week to enact the agreement between Governor Rick Snyder and Enbridge.

Dianda said, “I am just as concerned about protecting our Great Lakes as I am about providing comprehensive and reliable energy, electricity and telecommunication utilities to families in the Upper Peninsula. This agreement is the best solution we have so far to provide both things and I’m glad to see that it received bipartisan support. I remember the pain caused by propane shortages from a few years ago and the skyrocketing heating costs that followed. This plan provides certainty to northern Michigan families that their home heating costs will stay low, while also making sure our Great Lakes are preserved for future generations.”

State Representative Sara Cambensy is pleased that an amendment she proposed to require Enbridge to develop a plan to recruit, train and utilize Michigan workers during the tunnel’s construction was also included in the legislation that passed the House.

Cambensy said, “After many amendments, I was able to join 73 members of the House in supporting the formation of a tunnel authority to safely contain utilities that run under the Straits of Mackinac. I was also pleased to get an amendment passed on the floor that requires a plan to engage Michigan’s labor pool in the project, including using their recruitment, training and utilization methods.

“Should the governor sign this bill, the three-member authority will then be able to help draft an agreement between the utility companies and the state of Michigan to decommission Line 5, which currently lays on the floor of the Great Lakes. This is a win for every stakeholder.

“Because the details of this 99-year agreement will be the most important piece going forward to protect Michigan residents and our environment, I urge our governor and future tunnel authority members to make sure that all interest groups have a seat at the table to provide input before the final agreement is signed.

“The process in which legislation is drafted is vital to making sure government operates in a transparent manner at all times for its constituents. So far, this complex dialogue about whether and how to form a tunnel authority has had moments of poor communication that should have been handled differently to help gain the public’s trust. Going forward, it is my hope that we see a more unified effort among all groups and constituents. This project is too important to not bring all Michiganders together in order to do it right.”

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