Northern Michigan Business Owners Say Enbridge’s Line 5 Not Worth the Risk

New video from National Wildlife Federation features business owners who would be impacted by a pipeline rupture

06-30-2017 // Drew Youngedyke

The State of Michigan has released its alternatives analysis for Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, which crosses through the Straits of Mackinac. For northern Michigan business owners, the ultimate decision cannot be the status quo. In a new video released by the National Wildlife Federation, three northern Michigan business owners speak out about how a Line 5 oil pipeline spill would impact their businesses and regional economy. The video is hosted on the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/A6XpNnBcTJw.

“Every year, we take north of 400,000 people to Mackinac Island. Clean water is essential to what we do,” said Chris Shepler, owner of Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry in Mackinaw City, MI. “If we don’t have clean water, I don’t know that people are going to go to Mackinac Island; they sure wouldn’t want to get out on the Straits of Mackinac.”

“I am 1000% for the beauty and the protection of our environment, that’s number one,” said Rich Bergmann, owner of the Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company, which employs 165 people in Charlevoix and Boyne City. “But what I think that gets lost in the discussion is that there’s such a critical economic impact that would so adversely affect this region. And it wouldn’t be a six-month impact. It would be a six to twelve-year impact, as we’ve seen in other parts of the U.S. that have been impacted by major oil spills.”

“What I have trouble rationalizing is why we should risk the billions of dollars in economic value that the Great Lakes provide to everyone and free of charge so that they (Enbridge) can connect the dots on a map and take the shortest distance possible from the source of their fossil fuels to the refinery back in Canada,” said Noah Marshall-Rashid, co-owner of American Spoon Foods in Petoskey, MI.

All the featured business owners are members of the Great Lakes Business Network, a coalition of business owners around the Great Lakes whose businesses would be impacted by threats to the Great Lakes, like Line 5. More information on the Great Lakes Business Network can be found at http://glbusinessnetwork.com/.

This is the fourth video in a series that the National Wildlife Federation has released in recent weeks focusing on Enbridge’s 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill and the potential impacts of a similar occurrence from Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. Previous videos have featured Larry Bell, owner of Bell’s Brewery, as well as former Congressman Mark Schauer. At the same time, the National Wildlife Federation has also released an infographic showing that viable alternatives exist to Line 5 for delivering propane to the Upper Peninsula. The infographic can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/propanealternatives. All videos and infographics in the series can be viewed at http://blog.nwf.org/2017/05/line-5-oil-pipeline-a-threat-to-the-great-lakes/.

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