TOLEDO, Ohio, March 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) union today commended the Ohio House of Representatives' passage of H.R. 13, urging Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to help maintain economic stability across the Midwest by allowing Enbridge Line 5 to continue operating.
In November, Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed suit to revoke and terminate the 1953 easement that allows Enbridge to operate its dual pipelines through the Straits of Mackinac. H.R. 13 calls for Whitmer to reconsider this decision until the planned tunnel and replacement line can be permitted and completed.
"The futures of hundreds of USW members and their communities hang in the balance in this decision," said USW District 1 Director Donnie Blatt. "H.R. 13 recognizes that ending access to Line 5 jeopardizes these workers' ability to safely and efficiently provide energy to our communities, and that losing these good-paying jobs will have a ripple effect that will stifle economic recovery across the region."
The impact would be particularly stark on the roughly 350 USW members at PBF Energy's Toledo Refining Company, which relies heavily on Line 5 for its crude oil. There are currently no viable alternatives to supply the refinery, which the union estimates adds $5 billion of economic activity to the surrounding areas.
"While we understand the concerns about the existing line, the fact is that it is not only safe to operate but a necessary part of the fabric of our industry," said USW Local 912 President Justin Donley. "And the replacement project is a common-sense solution that will protect and create jobs, keep a steady energy supply, ensure a secure future, and maintain the economic viability of the region."
Four USW members, including Donley, testified in support of H.R. 13, which the union intends to keep backing as it heads to the Ohio Senate.
The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.