Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over the weekend declared a state of energy emergency to ensure adequate delivery of propane during the nationwide cold snap, according to the Detroit News. The executive order exempts motor carriers and drivers who transport propane and heating oil from compliance with maximum weekly driving and on-duty limits. The order took effect on Saturday and will remain in effect through Sunday, Feb. 28.
The energy emergency declaration ironically comes after Whitmer’s December announcement ordering the shutdown of Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac, which supplies propane to about 15,000 households in the Upper Peninsula.
According to Enbridge, Line 5 supplies 65% of propane demand in the Upper Peninsula, and 55% of Michigan’s statewide propane needs. Overall, Line 5 transports up to 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) of light crude oil, light synthetic crude, and natural gas liquids (NGLs), which are refined into propane.
The ongoing energy emergency makes Whitmer’s anti-pipeline policy even more concerning. Michigan State Rep. Greg Markkanen criticized the Governor, noting “The governor should know a thing or two about energy emergencies. She’s in the process of creating one for people and businesses in the Upper Peninsula by not having a sufficient plan in place of Line 5 being offline. Having to issue this order – on top of events we have seen around the country recently – should be a dose of reality for the governor. Top-notch energy infrastructure is critical to lives and livelihoods in our area of the state. We need to protect and strengthen this infrastructure by constructing the tunnel which will house this vital pipeline.”
Unfortunately, anti-energy sentiment has become all too common in Democratic politics. On his first day in office, President Biden revoked a key permit for the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. Now activists are calling on him to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has safely operated for more than three and a half years. Biden also recently banned drilling leases on federal lands and waters, a hit to high oil-producing states with large swaths of public land, like New Mexico and Wyoming.
It is paramount that elected officials consider the unintended impacts of their misguided policies. Shutting down safe pipelines and limiting U.S. oil and gas production doesn’t reduce the importance of traditional energy fuels. Instead, it only increases American dependence on foreign energy sources, and on alternative transport methods that less safe and less efficient compared to pipelines.