A Kalamazoo County commissioner has withdrawn a resolution against a controversial oil pipeline. The resolution called for the shutdown of Enbridge Energy’s Line 5, which runs through the Straits of Mackinac.
Democratic board member Mike Quinn pulled the resolution on Tuesday when it appeared that it would not pass a vote. Only four members of the board expressed clear support for the resolution at the commission’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
Supporters of the resolution argued that Enbridge’s Line 5 is in questionable condition, and that an oil spill in the Straits could spread throughout the Great Lakes, causing widespread environmental and economic devastation.
But Democratic Commissioner Mike Seals said regulators keep a close watch on the pipeline.
“I can’t expect them to just shut it down when all these things are in place to protect it,” Seals, who used to inspect gas lines for Consumers Energy, said Tuesday.
Seals later said that as a retired employee of Consumers, he would have abstained on the pipeline vote.
A number of people who attended the board’s regular meeting Tuesday night expressed frustration at the resolution’s withdrawal. Kathy Schoen says Michigan has already experienced a number of oil spills.
“If we don’t do anything, if we just wait and see, it’s going to be a matter of time and another spill will occur. God forbid it’s at the Straits,” she said.
The meeting grew rowdy at times as some members of the audience shouted questions for the board, prompting a brief recess before public comment continued.
Later in the meeting, commissioners accepted a $45,000 grant from Enbridge for an air boat and equipment for the county sheriff’s department.
Quinn says he might bring the pipeline resolution back some time later.