Forum to keep Mackinac Bridge separate from Line 5

A meeting this Thursday concerning Enbridge’s Line 5 in its relation to the Mackinac Bridge is open to the public.

The Great Lakes Business Network is hosting a Community Forum in Mackinaw City at Audie’s Restaurant on Thursday, Nov. 8th at 2:00–3:00 p.m to share the details of a deal that has been negotiated behind closed doors between Canadian oil pipeline corporation Enbridge and Governor Rick Snyder to construct and manage a tunnel for the Line 5 oil pipeline.

The forum follows the Mackinac Bridge Authority’s meeting that begins at 9 a.m. that day.

The proposed deal would have the Mackinac Bridge Authority own and manage the tunnel on behalf of Enbridge, and would provide the company with decision-making power about how they move forward.

The deal would also ensure that the existing 65-year-old pipeline would remain in the open waters of the Great Lakes for at least another 7 to 10 years while a tunnel is engineered, permitted, and constructed.

The deal has been negotiated in private, with critical details about engineering feasibility, project cost, ownership and liability unanswered.

Current and past MBA members have raised strong concerns about the public-private partnership, as well as the governor’s intent to change the statute of the MBA, which would expand their charge to oversee a tunnel for a private, foreign-owned corporation—a huge departure from the Bridge Authority’s current singular focus on the Mackinac Bridge.

Gov. Snyder will be seeking legislation during the lame-duck session of the legislature to quickly alter the historical statute of the MBA, and expand the board’s authority to include oversight of a tunnel.

Just last week he appointed four new members to the MBA board, presumably all of whom will go along with this hastily prepared plan.

Speakers at the community forum will include Barbara Brown, current member of Mackinac Bridge Authority, and Bill Gnodtke, immediate past chair of Mackinac Bridge Authority, as well as several members of the Great Lakes Business Network.

The purpose of the Great Lakes Business Network is to coordinate and elevate the voices of business leaders to protect the Great Lakes from environmental threats.