Line 5 pipeline disruption would cost Upper Peninsula taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars

A recent report co-authored by the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Jason Hayes and Minnesota-based Center for the American Experiment’s Isaac Orr, highlighted by the Center Square, argues the ongoing political battle over Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline could cause a disruption to the UP’s access to reliable propane fuel.

Using data compiled by the Statewide Energy Assessment, the report shows Michigan is the largest consumer of residential propane in the United States. Approximately 23,000 residential homes, or 18.6 percent, in the UP are heated by propane, which accounts for 78 percent, or 26.67 million gallons, of all propane consumption in the UP.

The Center Square writes:

Hayes and Orr assert the political battle over Line 5 is more likely to disrupt the availability of reliable fuel in the UP than petroleum industry shortages or extreme weather events. Any interruption of propane in the UP, the authors write, “would most assuredly come as a result of state government policy.”

The report also pushes back on recommendations published last April by the Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force, a group established by Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer – a vocal opponent to the pipeline. To address potential lack of propane access should Line 5 be decommissioned as Governor Whitmer and AG Nessel have proposed, the Task Force recommended UP homes switch from using propane to an alternative home heating option, which the report claims could cost homeowners nearly $4,000 a year. In addition, switching from propane heaters to heat pumps could cost each household approximately $25,000.

The Center Square notes:

All told, Hayes and Orr estimate the costs of retrofitting from propane to another energy source for UP homeowners would be between nearly $15 million for a low-end project and $470 million for a high-end project. They add those numbers do not include any interest the homeowners would incur for the loans they might have to repay for the retrofitting.

Governor Whitmer’s ideological opposition to the use of traditional fuels and transport-by-pipeline will negatively impact consumers and come at their expense. With already unprecedented economic hardships facing many Americans, the last thing we need is additional hurdles and expenses that were entirely preventable.

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