On Thursday March 28, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released her opinion clearly finding that the 2018 lame duck legislation (PA 395) that supported a tunnel under the Mackinac Straits for Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline is not constitutional.
On her first day in office Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer requested an opinion from incoming Attorney General Nessel regarding the legislation hastily passed last December, which would keep line 5 operational in the open waters of the Great Lakes for the foreseeable future while a tunnel is engineered, permitted and legally reviewed.
The legislation was also intended to tie the hands of incoming Gov. Whitmer to a series of closed-door deals between former Governor Rick Snyder and Enbridge.
The Great Lakes Business Network spoke out strongly in opposition to the tunnel deal, and the poorly constructed legislation and process.
Today, Great Lakes Business Network members are supporting the opinion of Attorney General Nessel, which found the legislation unconstitutional because it violates Article 4, Section 24 of the Michigan Constitution, referred to as the Title-Object Clause.
Specifically, the clause provides that “no law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title.
No bill shall be altered or amended on its passage through either house so as to change its original purpose as determined by its total content and not alone by its title.”
The original bill title referenced a connection to the Mackinac Bridge Authority, but later amendments shifted the intent of the bill to create a new, independent Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority
Great Lakes Business Network members encourage AG Nessel and Governor Whitmer to take all necessary steps to quickly and efficiently decommission the Straits section of Line 5 to protect the Great Lakes from a catastrophic oil spill.
Several Independent studies, including those by London Economics International show that Michigan is not dependent on Line 5 and that practical and cost-effective alternatives exist.
Chris Shepler, founding member of the Great Lakes Business Network and president of Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, says, “Our family-owned business is about to start our 74th season and we are an integral part of the Michigan tourism industry in northern Michigan as well as a leading employer.
We rely on pristine waters for our livelihood.
The Great Lakes are not only the crown jewel for our state, they are also our economic backbone and need to be a top priority for any administration.
The 2018 lame duck legislation clearly favored the interests of a foreign oil corporation before those of Michiganders, and I am encouraged by Attorney General Nessel’s opinion that the lame duck legislation is unconstitutional.
This gives our state leadership a path forward toward removing the risk Line 5 poses to the Great Lakes as swiftly as possible. I look forward to working with the Governor and Attorney General on next steps.”