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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. —Today, the Chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians praised the Whitmer administration for its responsible leadership regarding Line 5. Aaron Payment, responding to the Administration’s release of its MI Propane Security Plan, reiterated the tribe’s call to shut down Line 5.

The Whitmer Administration’s plan is “a multiagency effort with the Michigan Public Service Commission; the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.” The five-point plan is focused on ensuring Michigan’s energy needs are met when Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipelines that run through the Great Lakes shut down.

The tribe particularly appreciates the leadership for when the pipeline shuts down, as a spill similar to the Kalamazoo River disaster in 2010 would result in the pipeline being shut down for many months. With the pending shutdown of Line 5 by the administration’s revocation of the Straits easement, the company is fueling concerns about propane supply to the Upper Peninsula. This plan addresses the resilience of energy supply to the UP, following the recommendations of the UP Energy Task Force.

Payment said, “The Governor and AG Nessel promised to move to shut down Line 5 due to the catastrophic threat it represents to our natural resources in our traditional homelands and treaty territory. The scare tactics used by Enbridge regarding the price and supply of propane are dirty, manipulative—and, I might add, crude—politics, much like its industry. The Governor’s assurances and plan to ensure both the supply and stable price for propane cut the legs out from under Enbridge’s machinations.”

“Given what we have seen in Texas in recent weeks, work to ensure resilience of energy supply could not be more important or timely,” Sault Tribe Environmental Director Kathleen Brosemer said. “Our members in the western UP need to know that there will be heat on, whether this pipe breaks and spills or is shut down before the spill happens.”

Payment added, “I applaud Governor Whitmer for her leadership here and ask that she even more affirmatively work to shut down Line 5. I am proud to continue to support that woman from Michigan.”

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY