Ask a local propane supplier
If you want to know truth about the impact of shutting down Enbridge Line 5, ask your local propane company.
There is a lot of misleading information out there about the importance of Enbridge Line to propane users in the Upper Peninsula and Michigan as a whole. I will start by saying that if Line 5 is leaking, shut it down. But it’s not, so talking about shutting it down without a plan or even minimizing its importance to the citizens of Michigan is very irresponsible.
The numbers that are broadcast to minimize the importance of Line 5 are very misleading at best and totally false at worst. Several environmentalist websites say that only 2 percent (or less) of natural gas liquids (NGLs) that are transported through Line 5 are stripped off in Rapid River to make propane that is used in the U.P. That “2 percent” may or may not be exactly true, but what they fail to tell you is that 2 percent equals 33 million gallons of propane. What they also neglect to mention is that there is another terminal in downstate St. Clair that strips out NGL’s and makes it into over 120 million gallons of propane, also sold in Michigan.
As far as the 33 million gallons of propane that comes out of Rapid River, they say that it will only take “one rail car or three propane trucks per day” to make up for what is lost. A rail car holds about 30,000 gallons and a propane transport holds about 9,500 gallons. When doing the math, remember that about 75 percent of propane is used (for heating) between the months of November and March. Does that sound like it works out to three trucks per day to you? Also, since we will have to drive at least three times as far to get the propane, triple the amount of trucks that are needed. One more small detail — those extra trucks or rail facilities don’t even exist right now and most of the rail lines were pulled out of Michigan decades ago.
If you want to know how important Line 5 is to the propane users in the U.P. or Michigan, I suggest asking your local propane company, not the websites or representative of the environmental groups that are trying to shut it down no matter the consequences to Michigan propane users.
Ferrellgas U.P. general manager