LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ed McBroom thanked members of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for voting on Friday to approve Enbridge’s plan to build a tunnel for Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.
“After the governor wasted years of time and millions of taxpayer dollars by asking the MPSC to unnecessarily stick its nose into the tunnel issue, the governor’s appointees to the commission finally took up the information they asked for and received over seven months ago. Thankfully, the members listened to their lawyer, who informed them the tunnel was indeed needed, necessary, and far safer than the present situation and that no safer, more functional alternatives truly exist. I want to thank them for doing their job very well,” said McBroom, R-Waucedah Township.
“The tunnel project was approved by the Legislature five years ago with bipartisan support to protect our Great Lakes — while also creating thousands of good-paying, mainly union jobs. In addition to creating jobs and protecting our water, the tunnel will ensure families in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan continue to have access to affordable propane to heat their homes and the even larger bulk of other products that support tens of thousands of jobs across the state and region are secured.”
Action by the MPSC came a few weeks after McBroom and all 18 members of the Senate Republican caucus sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urging them to expedite the state and federal permitting processes regarding construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel Project for Line 5.
The letter was sent to Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It urged the corps to end its permitting delays and urged Whitmer to direct her state agencies and the MPSC to expedite their permitting processes so workers can begin construction.
The letter said that construction on the critical project was originally scheduled to begin in 2021, and the tunnel was expected to be operational by 2024. Now, due in large part to the ongoing delay in permitting, the project has been set back several years. Most recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicated a decision is not expected until 2026.
“Now that the commission has approved the tunnel plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should get their act together and issue the final permit,” McBroom said. “The delay over considering a quarter-acre impact to the inland shore is indefensible juxtaposed against further delaying the project’s benefits to the state’s people and environment.”