Gov. Snyder Signs Line 5 Replacement Deal Into Law — But Is It Legal?

Critics, including a number of environmental law experts, argue it could violate public trust laws.

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed controversial legislation that allows Enbridge Energy to build a pipeline, housed in a tunnel, to send crude oil and natural gas beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

This new tunnel will replace a section of the aging Line 5, perhaps one of the most dangerous environmental hazards in the state.

Opponents of the line have long said Line 5 should be shut down immediately.

But the governor sees this as a compromise. Enbridge gets to continue using its line, and the environmental risks are reduced, while a three-person commission — appointed by Gov. Snyder just days before he leaves office — will oversee the construction and use of the new tunnel.

Critics, including a number of environmental law experts, say this deal might violate public trust laws in Michigan because it gives away public land in the Great Lakes for the benefit of a private company. 

Is this the best deal to replace the controversial pipeline? Is it legal?

To dig into those questions, Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Gov. Rick Snyder’s Director of Communications Ari Adler, as well as University of Detroit-Mercy environmental law expert Nick Schroeck.

Click on the audio player above to hear the conversation.


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