HopCat and its affiliated restaurants are among the dozens of businesses throughout the Great Lakes states that have joined environmental activists in calling for Michigan to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline.
Mark Sellers, the owner and founder of our parent company, BarFly Ventures, wrote a guest column that ran over the weekend in Crain’s Detroit Business. He repeated his opposition to the pipeline and criticized Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for cutting a recent deal with the massive energy company that “falls short of protecting the Great Lakes, and those who depend on them.”
The pipeline flows under the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway that divides Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas, pumping some 23 million gallons of oil per day. The pipeline, Sellers points out, is 65 years old and in poor condition. A spill could be catastrophic for Michigan residents and businesses.
“If this pipeline leaks, we would see an absolute torpedoing of the Michigan tourism industry for years. In 2014, tourism generated $22.8 billion in direct spending, $2.4 billion in state and local taxes, and more than 214,000 jobs. A leak would cause the loss of tens or even hundreds of thousands of jobs. And guess what? Pipelines leak all the time. This is not some remote, one-in-a-million probability.”
The column is particularly critical of the Snyder administration’s deal with Enbridge, which does little beyond requiring the company to build a protective tunnel around the pipeline. A state advisory panel later recommended shutting down the line entirely.