Michigan Governor’s Order Slammed as Fool’s Errand

An Upper Peninsula state senator in Michigan has slammed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order to explore alternatives to meeting the region’s propane needs without Enbridge Inc.’s (Calgary) Line 5, arguing on the floor of the senate there are “no viable alternatives,” reports Michigan Live.

During his June floor speech, Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) suggested the governor’s executive order appeared to be made not out of an abundance of caution, “but out of a lack of information.” Whitmer empaneled a 13-member advisory board June 7, dubbed the UP Energy Task Force, and charged it with studying the Upper Peninsula’s energy needs and viable propane supply alternatives to Line 5.

The governor’s executive order was issued a day after Enbridge Inc. filed a lawsuit against Michigan. It effectively seeks to reinstate a Line 5 tunnel agreement cemented with Whitmer’s processor, Gov. Rick Snyder, and approved by the state legislature. About 25% of Upper Peninsula residents heat their homes with propane, the lion’s share of which comes from Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, according to the Whitmer administration.

The deal to have Enbridge fund, build, and operate a $500-million tunnel housing a Line 5 replacement beneath the Straits of Mackinac was derailed earlier this year by Michigan Attorney Gen. Dana Nessel, who determined the law underpinning the Snyder administration agreement was unconstitutional.

McBroom recalled the winter of 2013-2014, when Upper Peninsula residents sustained an “enormous energy crisis” due to the lack of propane in the Upper Midwest. He said he wasn’t sure what good yet another study would serve, since Upper Peninsula energy usage has been studied extensively, and repeatedly, by both the state and environmental groups. “This study is a fool’s errand and a distraction. It’s fiddling while Rome burns,” he said in his floor speech. “It’s not going to show us something that we don’t already know.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, July 1, 2019)