Jun 30, 2020
Regulators deny quick approval of new Great Lakes pipeline
This news has been received from: Associated Press
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Traverse City, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan regulatory panel on Tuesday refused to grant quick permission to run a new oil pipeline beneath a channel that connects two of the Great Lakes, deciding instead to conduct a full review.
Enbridge filed an application in April with the Michigan Public Service Commission to relocate a segment of its Line 5 that extends beneath the Straits of Mackinac, which links Lakes Huron and Michigan.
The Canadian energy transport company wants to replace dual pipelines that rest on the lake floor with a new pipe that would be placed in a 4-mile-long (6.4-kilometer-long) tunnel to be drilled in bedrock beneath the waterway.
Enbridge asked the state commission to approve the plan immediately, arguing that the agency in effect had already given permission by allowing the original Line 5 in 1953. But during an online meeting Tuesday, the panel disagreed on a 3-0 vote.
The project “involves important factual, policy and legal issues best resolved through a proceeding that includes discovery, comprehensive testimony and evidence to provide a robust record,” the commission said in a statement. It scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 24.
Enbridge’s argument that the commission didn’t need to conduct an extensive study of the plan drew opposition from Michigan Attorney Dana Nessel and numerous members of the public who submitted written comments and spoke during the online meeting.
“Enbridge has already shown that they cannot be trusted,” said Sean McBrearty of the environmental coalition Oil & Water Don’t Mix. The public service commission, he said, “must thoroughly study this proposal and its potential impacts on our water and climate before making their final ruling.”
Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said Enbridge “respects the Michigan Public Service Commission’s decision and we look forward to the next steps in the regulatory process.”
The commission made its decision as Nessel’s office and Enbridge prepared to face off in a state courtroom over a judge’s temporary order last week to shut down the existing Line 5 pipes because of recently discovered damage to a support anchor.
Circuit Judge James Jamo was scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday on whether to extend the order or allow oil to resume flowing through the pipes.
Line 5 carries about 23 million gallons (87 million liters) of crude oil and natural gas liquids used in propane between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario, spanning portions of Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas.
News Source: Associated Press
Trump’s presidency has accelerated the collapse of the Republican Party: columnist
Citing the work of a University of a Washington political scientist, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank said Donald Trump and his racist rhetoric has accelerated the decline of the Republican party in a country that is seeing major demographic changes and because white voters are increasingly turned off by it.
As Milbank wrote, four years ago Christopher Parker, who is Black, predicted a Trump candidacy would “do more to advance racial understanding than the election of Barack Obama.”
Writing in the American Prospect, Parker explained, “Trump’s clear bigotry makes it impossible for whites to deny the existence of racism in America. . . . His success clashes with many white Americans’ vision of the United States as a fair and just place.”
With the rise of the Balck Lives Matter movement at a time when Trump’s political fortunes are collapsing Milbank suggested that a perfect storm in voting patterns is occurring faster than expected.
“The reckoning Parker foresaw is now upon us. White women, disgusted by Trump’s cruelty, are abandoning him in large number. White liberals, stunned by the brazen racism, have taken to the streets. And signs point to African American turnout in November that will rival the record level of 2012, when Obama was on the ballot. This, by itself, would flip Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to Democrats, an analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress shows,” the columnist wrote.
Writing, “Trump has accelerated a decades-old trend toward parties redefining themselves by race and racial attitudes,” Milbank noted that Vincent Hutchings, a political scientist at the University of Michigan concurred that the president is driving away white people which is accelerating the changes — particularly among women, one of the most reliable voting blocks.
“For many white Americans, the things Trump is saying and getting away with, they just didn’t think they lived in a world where that could happen,” he explained. “One of the best ways to exacerbate the gender gap isn’t to talk about gender but to talk about race.”
Turning back to Parker, who made the bold prediction about Trump before he was elected in 2016, the political scientist admitted he was pleased that he was correct.
“I know it sounds crazy, especially coming from a black man,” he told Milbank. “I think Trump actually is one of the best things that’s happened in this country.”
You can read more here.