The details of Gov. Snyder’s backroom deal to help Canadian oil giant Enbridge build a tunnel to serve as a shortcut to move Canadian oil through the Great Lakes are especially disturbing. Michigan’s lame duck governor is actively ignoring the interests of Michigan citizens and the Great Lakes, and instead working behind closed doors to advance the interests of a foreign oil corporation, proposing a tunnel “solution” that continues to leave the Straits of Mackinac vulnerable for at least 10 years while it is debated, engineered, and perhaps never constructed.
On Tuesday, Bridge magazine ran a piece I wrote that details the context and background of this deal and highlights why Michiganders need to stay focused on this critical issue. Frustratingly, it is being spun by many in the media as a “solution,” instead of the sell-out that it really is.
The Snyder-Enbridge deal is cunning and is designed to happen quickly before the November election to tie the hands of the next governor from undoing any of it. The strategy relies on manipulating the Mackinac Bridge Authority, which was established in 1950 with a single focus—to ensure the construction and maintenance of the bridge that connects Michigan’s two peninsulas. Snyder’s plan would hastily amend the mission and makeup of this agency—which has always had a public mission to serve the residents of Michigan—to now serve the corporate and shareholder interests of a Canadian oil pipeline company.
Several current Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) members strongly oppose this deal, as outlined in a letter to the St Ignace News by board Vice-Chair Barbara Brown. But Snyder has a plan to override those objections by appointing four new members next month who agree with his deal. To complete his plan, Snyder’s new cherry-picked MBA will need expanded authority from the legislature during the lame-duck session. Snyder hopes his friendly Republican-led legislature will pass a hastily prepared bill—against the wishes of the current MBA (but no worries because he was able to boot them).
With a stacked MBA board, Snyder’s goal is to have the lame duck legislature expand their authority to include building an oil pipeline tunnel and gift-wrap the whole package for Enbridge by Christmas—before a new governor takes office.
I encourage Michigan citizens who are concerned about this deal to immediately contact their state representative. Do so before the election, while legislators are motivated to hear your concerns, and implore them not to vote to support Snyder’s sneaky deal that sells out Michigan’s interests to a Canadian corporation.