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Line 5 shutdown would raise gas prices half-cent per gallon, Enbridge consultant says in court documents

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Enbridge Energy's Line 5 oil pipeline runs under the Straits of Mackinac.

Court documents from a lawsuit against Enbridge Energy show a consultant for the Canadian energy company that owns and operates the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac predicts the price of gas will rise about half a cent per gallon if the pipeline closes.

Environmental advocacy groups said that's well short of the spike in gas prices the company had been suggesting would result from a shutdown.

"Energy experts and advocates have known that this is the case, we've been raising the alarm for years. The bombshell revelations contained in these recent court filings show that Enbridge has known as well," said Shawn McBrearty with the group Oil and Water Don't Mix, which has campaigned against Line 5.

Beth Wallace is with the National Wildlife Federation. "For five years we have had no fewer than three other energy experts confirm what Enbridge’s own expert now recognizes: that Line 5 can shut down with little to no noticeable impact at the pump," she said.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered Enbridge to shut down the pipeline, but it continues to operate as the issue is litigated.

"Shutting down Line Five will have almost no impact on gas prices. But it will speed the inevitable transition to clean energy and protect communities like Bay Mills from the disastrous consequences of climate change," said Debbie Chizewer, an attorney representing the Bay Mills Indian Community.

In a written statement, Enbridge said its consultant’s estimations are based on costs after the pipeline’s replacement infrastructure is in place, and his statements were made before the current global energy crisis and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Enbridge is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.
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