Research Shows Responsible Shutdown of Line 5 Would Go ‘Unnoticed’ by Consumers

Trudeau, Biden Need to Stand with Whitmer, Nessel to Protect Great Lakes, Wildlife, People

ANN ARBOR, Mich.  — Shutting down Enbridge Energy’s dangerous and decrepit Line 5 pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac would have virtually no impact on consumer energy prices, according to new research prepared for Environmental Defence Canada. The report affirms 2018 research from the London Economics International commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation and underscores that it is economically unnecessary to continue the illegal operation of Line 5, which threatens the Great Lakes and the people and wildlife who rely upon them as well as our water-based and recreational tourism economy.

The research confirms that the United States and Canada can take simple steps, including investing in a small number of rail car offloading sites and expanding the Line 78 pipeline to its planned capacity, to make the economic impact of Line 5’s closure negligible and “unnoticed” by consumers. This analysis errs on the side of caution and did not take into account the massive transition away from fossil fuels that is already underway.

“These findings show, once again, that Enbridge Energy and its surrogates simply cannot be trusted. They have been misleading the public with scare tactics about the criticality of Line 5. In fact, this analysis uses Enbridge’s own claims along with publicly available data to show that Enbridge is choosing profit over people, wildlife, and clean water when it comes to Line 5,” said Beth Wallace, Great Lakes campaigns manager for the National Wildlife Federation. “Enbridge continues to misrepresent the need for Line 5 because they make $1 million to $2 million every day Line 5 operates.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Biden need to stand with Michigan Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel in their efforts to protect the Great Lakes, state and Tribal rights, our drinking water, our wildlife, our economy and fuel supplies by calling for an orderly shutdown of Line 5.”

The almost 70-year-old Line 5 pipeline, operated by Enbridge Energy, carries up to 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids per day from Superior, Wisc., to Sarnia, Ontario, taking a shortcut through Michigan and along the lake bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. The inland sections of Line 5 have leaked at least 33 times, releasing over 1 million gallons of product into the environment to-date. The Mackinac Straits section of Line 5, designed to last 50 years, has been plagued by a range of issues, including missing protective coatings and multiple strikes by anchors and other objects. 

The pipeline lies in what University of Michigan researchers have called “the worst possible place for an oil spill” in the Great Lakes.


Get Involved

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates