Photo of Jim Lively by Beth Price for Traverse Magazine
Michigan business leaders today announced the formation of the Great Lakes Business Network (GLBN), with a primary objective of decommissioning twin oil pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac. The companies, which include Michigan breweries, food and tourism enterprises, as well as national outdoor retailer Patagonia, are highly concerned about the risks to their businesses and communities poised by the 63-year-old pipelines that were designed to last 50 years and are operated by the company responsible for the largest inland oil disaster in U.S. history in Kalamazoo.
“Enbridge’s oil disaster really hit home for me,” said Larry Bell, owner of Bell’s Beer in Kalamazoo. “It was absolutely devastating for our community. I pledged to do all I can to not let that happen anywhere else in Michigan. For a company like Enbridge, which made more than $960 million in profits in the first quarter of 2016, an oil spill and the associated costs may be considered the cost of doing business. But I guarantee you that an oil spill in the Straits would be a disaster to Michigan’s local businesses up and down the Great Lakes and beyond.”
GLBN is an initiative spearheaded by the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the National Wildlife Federation, with the goal of giving key business leaders a voice in expressing their concerns with the Line 5 oil pipelines through the Straits of Mackinac.
I asked my colleague Jim Lively the following questions about GLBN, its strategy and objectives. Lively is Groundwork's senior policy specialist and a key instigator behind the campaign to shut down Line 5.
Question: What is the Great Lakes Business Network, and how is it distinct from the Oil & Water Don't Mix campaign?
Jacob Wheeler is the communications manager at Groundwork. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.