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Enbridge and refineries

EDITOR:

As the time for the State of Michigan to take action on Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac approaches, an increasingly desperate Enbridge is enlisting allies to engage in what can only be deemed a Chicken Little campaign. Behold, for example, Enbridge’s full-page advertisement Wednesday in the Daily Press, which wildly alleges that “Shutting down Line 5, even temporarily, would mean lost union jobs, refinery closures, gas price spikes and greater harm to the regional economy every year.”

The latest and one of the most outrageous fabrications regarding the impact of a Line 5 shutdown emerged last week from management of the PBF refinery in Toledo, Ohio. PBF warned of a refinery shutdown and loss of a thousand jobs if the supply provided by Line 5 is no longer available. The Toledo refinery, PBF suggested, has no other source of petroleum. Shutting down Line 5 will protect hundreds of thousands of jobs in Michigan’s tourism economy. Direct spending by tourists supports approximately 221,420 jobs, and the total tourism economy in 2016, including direct, indirect and induced impacts, supported 337,490 jobs — approximately 6.1 percent of total employment in Michigan. Enbridge’s and fossil-fuel industry allies have a track record of false and unsubstantiated claims and lack of transparency. Enbridge and refineries and some politicians are misleading the public. They falsely claim that the 2 Toledo refineries and 1 Detroit refinery, and by extension the jobs there, are fully and wholly dependent on Line 5, including a large number of jobs at these refineries. The refineries supposedly affected are: Marathon – Detroit; BP-Husky-Toledo – which carries no Line 5 feedstock because it’s a tar sands refinery that takes feedstock from Line 78 (formerly Line 6B), and PBF-Toledo. PBF states in its 2018 annual report for stockholders that it “processes a slate of light crude oils from Canada, the Mid-continent and the U.S. Gulf Coast.” The refineries rely on multiple pipelines and suppliers, and they say so in writing. Marathon refinery primarily uses dilbit, which Line 5 doesn’t currently carry. In a letter to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine claimed, “our refineries supply the majority of aviation fuels to Detroit Metro Airport” and asserted shutdown of Line 5 would lead to airline schedule disruptions. But 2020 jet fuel consumption at Detroit Metro will total 1,658,000 gallons per day, according to a 210 estimate by the airport. Based on numbers published by PBF, BP Husky and Marathon Refineries, Line 5 appears to supply only about 10 percent of the jet fuel at Detroit Metro Airport, not 40 percent as claimed by Ohio Gov. DeWine. Both Marathon and PBF have other crude oil sources, and therefore other pipelines could provide feedstock to satisfy regional jet fuel needs. Alternatively, other nearby refineries in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio could make up this shortfall. Shutting down line 5 will have no impact on refineries, refinery workers, or fuel supplies at Detroit Metro.

Gerry Niedermaier

Gladstone