Three Upper Peninsula counties have passed resolutions supporting Enbridge Energy’s proposed tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac. The tunnel through bedrock would replace the Line 5 twin oil pipelines that currently sit on the lakebed.
Dickinson County passed their resolution first, on June 24. Iron and Gogebic counties adopted nearly identical versions in the second week of August. And, Grand Traverse county followed suit on August 21.
Dickinson county commissioner Barbara Kramer says her board pursued a resolution after Enbridge appeared at the spring meeting of the Upper Peninsula Association of County Commissioners.
"They're anxious to promote this and we're anxious to support it,” she says. “It's hands down the best way to go."
She says Enbridge did not suggest specific language for the resolution. She thinks Enbridge has been forthcoming, and sees a tunnel as a more environmentally protective option.
Joe Bonovetz, a commissioner from Gogebic County, says it’s common to share resolutions between different U.P. counties.
“It was a resolution that we received from Dickinson County,” says Bonovetz. “They had passed it prior to us.”
Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy says the recent spate of support reflects the company’s engagement efforts.
“We've had several open houses, we're talking to people, we're talking to elected officials and answering questions, and we're seeing a lot of support for the tunnel project,” he says. “I think that's what you're seeing here."
The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners first introduced the resolution at their last meeting, but voting was postponed after dozens of constituents attended and expressed opposition.
*This post was last updated on Aug. 21 at 1:40 p.m.
Editor's note: Enbridge is a corporate sponsor of Michigan Radio.