A resolution against a controversial oil pipeline that drew crowds to Kalamazoo County board meetings has passed. The commission voted 7 to 3 on Tuesday to call for the shutdown of Enbridge Energy Line 5, which runs through the Straits of Mackinac.
Supporters of the resolution packed several recent county board meetings. Many of them said an oil spill in the Straits would devastate the Great Lakes and Michigan’s economy.
Commissioner Mike Seals had expressed skepticism that Line 5 posed a threat. On Tuesday Seals told Enbridge spokesperson Jason Manshum, who gave a presentation at the Board's Committee of the Whole meeting that he still thinks the pipe is unlikely to break.
“However, the asset that’s around that pipe is extremely important. Not to just this state but to all the states that surround the Great Lakes. And that makes it very important that we take care of that resource,” he said.
Seals voted for the resolution.
Board Chair Dale Shugars, who voted against it, said supporters had not offered a convincing alternative to piping the oil through the Straits.
“You close down Enbridge 5, you better watch what happens downstream. The people that can least afford increases in gas prices are going to be asked to pay more at the pump,” he said.
A group that opposes the pipeline says more than 60 Michigan governments have called for it to shut down.
An earlier version of this story misspelled an Enbridge spokesperson's name. He is Jason Manshum, not Manchum.