Shutting down Enbridge Line 5 will impact Michigan agriculture, too

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U.S. Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered Enbridge to cap Line 5 by Wednesday, May 12, which would starve Ontario, Quebec, and parts of the north central U.S. of about 50 per cent of their energy supply.

Enbridge has refused the governor’s directive and continues to operate.

Ashley Davenport of Michigan Ag Today recently joined Shaun Haney to discuss how the Line 5 disruption impacts the state of Michigan.

Davenport and others are speculating the Michigan governor is looking for an issue to hang her hat on, including initiatives influenced by environmentalists.

“Fifty-five per cent of Michigan’s propane needs comes from Line 5 and when you think of the upper peninsula, the U.P. northern Michigan, 65 per cent of propane is used in those areas,” says Davenport. Heating homes, livestock buildings, greenhouses for specialty crops, and drying grains are all at stake if Line 5 is shut down, with no back-up plan.

Letting the courts decide on the course of action may take a lot of time, as Davenport explains that the courts “roll like the wheel of politics,” sometimes fast, and sometimes very slow. Smart money is saying that the line will be kept open, says Davenport, which begs the question: where is the line between state and nation drawn, on a matter like this?

If the energy source isn’t carried by a pipeline, the alternative of trucking it in is expensive and a worse environmental story in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

An estimate from the Michigan Farm Bureau proposes 2100 trucks per day would need to haul propane for the region, 2100 drivers the state doesn’t have and extra stress on the infrastructure that could be avoided, says Davenport.

Listen to the full conversation between Davenport and Haney below:

Related: Possible Line 5 disruption threatens eastern Canadian agriculture and food chain

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