News Story

After Targeting Gas Pipeline, Whitmer Declares Propane Heating Fuel 'Emergency'

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a Michigan "energy emergency" on Feb. 20 to “ensure adequate propane distribution” for the foreseeable future.

“While I am confident that our state has the energy supply we need to get through these cold winter days, we aren’t taking any chances after what happened in Texas this week,” Whitmer said in a press release.

In November, Whitmer took action to shutdown the Line 5 pipeline that supplies much of the propane fuel used in Michigan.

Line 5 travels under the Straits of Mackinac in two 20-inch diameter parallel pipelines. The pipelines go underground onshore and then go deep underwater for 4.5 miles.

According to Enbridge, the Line 5 pipeline supplies 65% of the propane demand in the Upper Peninsula and 55% of the total demand in the state.

Line 5 transports as much as 540,000 barrels per day of light crude oil, light synthetic crude as well as natural gas liquids that are refined into propane, according to Enbridge.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit to stop Enbridge from relocating the pipeline to a cement-lined tunnel 100 feet below the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Enbridge and Nessel’s office did not appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, according to the Detroit News.

In January, Enbridge announced it has received approval of permits from state regulators to continue work on the tunnel project. But the company said it didn't resolve Whitmer's attempts to shut down Line 5 and Enbridge had filed a federal lawsuit against the governor.

"The permits issued today [Jan. 29] do not resolve Governor Whitmer’s effort to shut down Line 5’s current operations," Enbridge stated in a press release. "Enbridge is challenging those efforts in federal court. Such a shutdown before the completion of the Great Lakes Tunnel Project would lead to major energy shortages in the region and severe economic consequences for Michigan, neighboring states and Canada."

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.