Letter to the editor: The alternatives to shutting down Line 5 pipeline are greater risks.

July 26, 2017

Letter to the editor: The alternatives to shutting down Line 5 pipeline are greater risks.

Dear Editor,

As a local business owner and employer to 200-plus local residents whose livelihood is connected to energy, I think there are some key facts readers should know about the recent calls by some to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 through the Mackinac Straits.

People advocating for the shutdown of Line 5 have played on fear and vastly overplayed the risks and have understated the benefits that pipeline delivers to the Great Lakes region. They have also ignored the risks that alternatives bring.  This well organized opposition group seems to have no conscious when it comes to attacking the heart of the economic engine of the Great Lakes region.  Jobs and costs do matter.

If Line 5 is shut down, how do you propose to move 540,000 barrels of crude oil products through the region every day?  Trucks?  That’s 2,700 tanker trucks a day!  Rail? That’s 840 rail cars every day!  Tankers and barges on the Great Lakes? (that’s why Line 5 was built in the first place, to lower risk)  Why would we want to shut down Line 5 in favor of these far riskier alternatives? Not to mention added costs making local industry less competitive on a worldwide basis.

Everyone is in favor of a cleaner environment.  Everyone is also in favor of people having jobs and not shipping all of our jobs to Asia (I think).  Those goals need not be mutually exclusive.  Let us intelligently address our desire for a clean, safe environment.  Zero risk is not an intelligent choice.  That means we don’t travel by car, plane, boat, bike or on foot, because all those things have risk.

State and federal regulators are completing a study of the Line 5’s condition. That pipeline has operated safely for 60 years.  It might be the most inspected, highly monitored pipeline in the world.  I would encourage everyone to pay close attention to what they find. Well managed pipelines are the safest, most efficient way to move energy long distances. If the independent study confirms Line 5 is still in good condition, it is the very best alternative to fuel Michigan’s economic engine.


John K. Wilson


Western Land Services, Inc.

1100 Conrad Industrial Dr.



Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks

Area Churches