Bad Ideas in Action

I need to provide a retraction of sorts for this post. While Enbridge Line 5 could carry the same corrosive tar sands of Keystone XL, it’s not a part of the XL network. It still most certainly could all the terrible impacts and remains a really bad idea.  More about Line 5 right here.


Broken Supports on the Straits Pipeline, photo courtesy National Wildlife Federation video

Here’s what we’re talking about when we talk about piping crude oil sludge under the Straits of Mackinac. It’s absolutely unfathomable to me how a politician could ever use “jobs” and “Keystone XL” in the same sentence except to say “Keystone XL could cost us tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Great Lakes if anything goes wrong.”

Eco Watch writes (in part):

This past July, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) conducted a diving expedition to obtain footage of aging oil pipelines strung across one of the most sensitive locations in the Great Lakes, and possibly the world: the Straits of Mackinac. Footage of these pipelines has never been released to the public until now.

The Straits of Mackinac pipelines, owned by Enbridge Energy, are 60-years-old and considered one of the greatest threats to the Great Lakes because of their age, location and the hazardous products they transport—including tar sands derived oil.

Click above to read more and watch the video or click here to watch it on YouTube. The dive footage starts at about 3 minutes, and at about 4 minutes in you can see drop camera footage from 200′ deep that shows unsupported pipeline hanging over the lake bed.

I know that some folks get upset when I wander into “politics” but I don’t even think this falls under politics. This falls under “companies using lobbying money & influence to do things that are really dangerous without proper safety controls.” You can clearly see from the video that this pipeline is an outdated and unsafe piece of junk, and the Great Lakes don’t belong to any company. In my opinion (which may be different from yours) it is incumbent on our elected officials to safeguard the Great Lakes for the economic benefit and enjoyment of us ALL.

PS: If the name Enbridge Energy sounds familiar, they’re the company that brought Michigan the Kalamazoo River oil spill in 2010.

PPS: (edit) The Jobs, Economy and the Great Lakes report by Michigan Sea Grant found that in 2009, more than 1.5 million Great Lakes-related jobs generated $62 billion in wages for the Great Lakes region. (report is linked at the right)

16 thoughts on “Bad Ideas in Action

  1. The alternative is the latest rail car accident in W.V. Or the rail accident in Va. If the pipeline at the straits is a hazard, where is Obama’s EPA? By the way, guess who owns the major petroleum rail carrier in the U.S.? Warren Buffett! The liberals liberal.


    1. I’d argue that the alternative is actually holding petroleum companies responsible for the true costs of accidents and developing tough safety standards.

      I think you’re missing my point too.This is NOT a partisan issue … or shouldn’t be. It’s just a really bad idea.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Stick to your outstanding pictures! Opinions are just that-opinions. We are not going to solve energy problems with feelings. Advance solutions supported by facts.


    2. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was officially formed December 2, 1970 as a result of a law passed by the Nixon administration. Meanwhile, Warren Buffett also invests in renewable energy. He’s an investor, that what he does when it’s a money maker and railroads make money hauling most everything.
      So do us a favor and take your politics and stuff them.


      1. Great post Andrew, I applaud you for the awareness it raises and appreciate your stern and courteous replies to the criticisms it has received Keep it up.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey John, if you don’t like what I post, feel free to stop reading! I am passionately dedicated to the preservation of Michigan, and I will continue to post things on issues that I feel have the possibility of harming our great state.

    And by the way, it’s a FACT that the pipeline is aging and unsafe, it’s a FACT that a leak under the Straits would have a massive impact on our economy, and it’s FACT that science doesn’t give a damn about politics. This isn’t a Republican vs Democrat issue, it’s a protecting Michigan vs wishing and hoping that we won’t have an accident issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never knew such a thing existed, so thanks for the info, Farlane. Also agree with you that the potential danger to the Great Lakes from this kind of aging equipment should be the responsibility of the oil company, and far from being a partisan issue, the safety of the lakes should be something everyone in Michigan should rally around.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Jim, this isn’t a political issue, it’s a not destroying the Michigan I love issue.

    Also, I’ll thank you to be more courteous when you comment, or welcome you to go elsewhere for your pretty pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My apologies, Andrew. It’s just that when it comes to protecting the environment, in Michigan or elsewhere, I don’t appreciate political buffoonery and pretty pictures don’t distract me from that pursuit.


      1. OK. Not sure what the political buffoonery is in this instance other than the obvious buffoonery of trying to move oil through an aging and unsafe pipeline through the heart of what makes Michigan special.


    1. I think that’s certainly an option, Bill. Until that happens though, the risk from railcars or tankers is miniscule compared to the risk of a pipeline rupture.


  5. As to the wisdom of relying on ‘oil companies’ responsibility’, there is a long and continuing litany of environmental disasters that were never reclaimed, detoxed or returned to original health by any stretch of the imagination. Currently, BP is claiming that it can’t afford to clean the gulf. Residents impacted by the Exxon Valdez spill can tell you how little the guilty oil company cares about decades of toxic fisheries and poisoned wildlife.
    The idea that train explosions are our only alternative to the pipeline is ludicrous. Many countries are choosing progress and have implemented cleaner and safer energy solutions. If folks would turn the channel, watch some documentaries or the link included in this article than they might learn that some companies profit from the old and dangerous methods but that more intelligent solutions exist. We don’t even need to invent them ourselves.
    This issue shouldn’t be political but like many things that have big consequences, it is. Republicans have been decimating the EPA with all the power they can muster, which is considerable. All the more important that citizens educate one another.
    I deeply appreciate that along with great photography, I am informed by this blog. Many thanks and please keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Carla, I’m glad you like Michigan in Pictures.

      You are correct. We have an energy economy right now that is finely tuned to the profits of oil and other companies and pushes the risk and cleanup costs to taxpayers.


      1. Also, it shouldn’t be political and for me, it isn’t. Governor Bill Milliken was a Republican through and through and he championed the protection & wise stewardship of Michigan’s natural environment.

        It’s become a political issue, but in my opinion that’s because it serves the interests of companies that are lobbying congresspeople, primarily on the GOP side of the aisle.


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