In his campaign literature, Sen. Bernie Sanders talks a lot about the need for affordable energy sources – something we can all get behind as we work to keep energy bills low for hard-working American families.
That’s why it is curious that Sen. Sanders joined Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in calling for the shutdown of the Line 5 pipeline, a source of affordable energy that benefits the Great Lakes region and Canada.
9 years ago, 1.2 million gallons of crude oil spilled from Enbridge’s 6B pipeline into the Kalamazoo River.
Today, with the climate crisis worsening, we must #ShutDownLine5 pipeline in Michigan and ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure. What we need is a Green New Deal.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 25, 2019
Let’s look at the facts about the benefits of pipeline safety overall and Line 5 in particular.
First, pipelines in general: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) concludes that pipelines “enable the safe movement of extraordinary quantities of energy products to industry and consumers, literally fueling our economy and way of life.” The PHMSA also says pipelines are “one of the safest and least costly ways to transport energy products.” Further, the PHMSA says pipelines alleviate the need for other, less safe means of transportation:
“It would take a constant line of tanker trucks, about 750 per day, loading up and moving out every two minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move the volume of even a modest pipeline. The railroad-equivalent of this single pipeline would be a train of 225, 28,000 gallon tank cars.”
In the United States, there are more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines that “safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of tons/miles of liquid petroleum products each year,” according to the PHMSA.
As for Line 5, the benefits are clear and plentiful:
Line 5 supplies 65 percent of propane demand in the Upper Peninsula, and 55 percent of Michigan’s statewide propane needs. Overall, Line 5 transports up to 540,000 barrels per day of light crude oil, light synthetic crude, and natural gas liquids, which are refined into propane. Without it, the state’s access to affordable, secure energy would be compromised.
The crude oil transported on Line 5 meets increasing demand from refineries in Michigan and Ohio for Bakken light crude—helping to ensure a stable and secure supply of North American crude, and keeping prices down at the pumps. About 30 percent of that light crude stays in the region, where it’s processed and used to power industry, and turned into the gas, diesel and jet fuel that keep our economy running.
Sen. Sanders and Gov. Inslee should stop pandering to environmental extremists and support Great Lakes families who need the fuel that is delivered by Line 5.