This article appeared in the June 2020 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
One week before Michigan began adjusting to a new normal amidst the COVID-19 public health crisis, big news in metro Detroit and northern Michigan began setting the table for a critical part of the state’s eventual comeback story.
As Michigan job sites, workers, and families rely on the fuel delivered by twin pipelines running safely under the Straits of Mackinac, Enbridge Energy Company announced in early March its selection of Michigan contractors to handle construction of a new state of the art tunnel — the Great Lakes Tunnel — to make the safe pipeline safer and secure Michigan’s energy future.
Livonia-based Jay Dee Contractors, Inc. and the new Great Lakes Tunnel Constructors have been tabbed to do the heavy lifting on an essential building project.
Their selection was an important development on a vital part of Michigan’s energy infrastructure, and one that’s particularly critical for Michigan manufacturers.
That’s why MMA has helped launch a new coalition — Great Lakes Michigan Jobs — to support its construction.
The Tunnel will house and replace a portion of Line 5, the pipeline that crosses the straits along the bottom of the lakebed connecting Michigan’s two peninsulas. The Line 5 pipeline delivers fuel that keeps homes warm and manufacturers moving.
Placing the pipeline in a concrete tunnel 100 feet underground provides multiple layers of protection, safeguarding the Lakes from the risk of an oil spill. In fact, a 2017 expert study commissioned by the state of Michigan examined the possibility of oil leaking into the Great Lakes from the proposed tunnel and found the risk to be “unquantifiably low.”
Protecting our Great Lakes ecosystem couldn’t be more important. The work to build the tunnel will take place deep underground and will not disturb the lakebed, fish, or wildlife within the Lakes.
More than ever, securing and protecting Michigan jobs matters, too. Building the tunnel will create hundreds of jobs, protects 47,000 direct and indirect jobs that rely on the fuel that’s flowing today through Line 5, and keeps the state’s manufacturing industry moving.
Our coalition, Great Lakes Michigan Jobs, is helping lead the charge to build it.
The Great Lakes are more than a natural resource. They’re Michigan’s way of life. Our state’s identity, our traditions, and our jobs depend on healthy Great Lakes, and we fight to defend them.
The Great Lakes Tunnel is a win for everyone — from the state’s largest manufacturers to the workers whose jobs Line 5 supports. Funded entirely through private sources at no cost to taxpayers, the Great Lakes Tunnel will protect jobs, the environment and prevent energy shortages and rising costs for the products and utilities we use every day.
Currently moving through the permitting process with state and federal regulators, the Tunnel is a critical piece of infrastructure for Michigan’s post-crisis recovery.
Manufacturers across the state believe the tunnel plan makes a lot of sense, and are inviting individual workers, manufacturers, businesses and others to join the coalition supporting it. Join the coalition or learn more at GreatLakesMichiganJobs.com or contact MMA’s Mike Johnston, at 517-487-8554 or email@example.com, or MMA’s Dave Greco, at 517-487-8543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.