Legal Action Against Michigan Energy Infrastructure Undermines Safety

The Detroit News published an opinion editorial by GAIN strategic adviser Brigham McCown, who also served as former administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. McCown discusses the importance of energy infrastructure, particularly Michigan’s Line 5 pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac.

The decades-old pipeline has been under intense scrutiny from misguided politicians and local officials – including Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel – that want the pipeline shut down altogether. McCown calls the pressure “a telling example of political dysfunction threatening our nation’s infrastructure.”

This year, Line 5 operator Enbridge Inc. announced a $500 million investment that would significantly enhance both the safety and security of the line, but the opposition persists. McCown said:

“The fallacy of those seeking to constrain infrastructure projects like Line 5 is that opposing new infrastructure projects will actually make us less safe while simultaneously raising energy prices for consumers, because these products will still find a way to market, except finding a way to market means being transported less safely and more expensively, a basic misunderstanding that needs to be corrected.”

As the GAIN Coalition has highlighted previously, opponents seeking last-minute legal challenges to pipeline infrastructure undermine the regulatory process that new projects successfully navigate. New pipelines and supplementary construction to existing pipelines are subject to regulatory scrutiny to evaluate the safety of the pipeline and ensure proper operation. Lawsuits against pipeline infrastructure threaten energy security and access to products like propane and gasoline.

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