Has Gov. Gretchen Whitmer finally and completely lost her mind?
As Americans in states along the eastern seaboard waited in long lines to fill up their gas tanks last week, the Democrat from Michigan saw fit to renew her calls to shut down the Enbridge pipeline that pumps 540,000 barrels of oil and other petroleum products through a section of the Great Lakes.
In an Op-Ed published Friday by The Washington Post, the governor wrote, “Oil and water don’t mix — especially when the latter involves the Great Lakes, the repository of more than 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. And yet for nearly 70 years, an oil company has pumped crude oil through the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron connect and where Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas come closest.
“The two aging, 4.5-mile sections of underwater pipeline are a ticking time bomb. I’m taking every action I can to shut them down, to protect two Great Lakes and the jobs that depend on them.”
Whitmer then reminded readers of the disastrous BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, which was followed three months later by the rupture of “an Enbridge pipeline in Michigan, Line 6B.” That incident sent “hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil gushing into a creek feeding the Kalamazoo River, near Marshall, Mich,” she wrote. “It was one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history.”
The governor said she filed a lawsuit against Enbridge in November and the company was advised that “the state of Michigan was revoking and terminating the 1953 easement for Enbridge’s dual pipelines in the Straits. The notice gave Enbridge 180 days — until this past Wednesday — to cease pumping oil through the Great Lakes.”
She said Enbridge has been notified and has defied the order and continues to operate. Whitmer said she “would make every effort to disgorge the company of all profits unjustly earned from Line 5 while trespassing on state land. … Enbridge says it will continue pumping until a court orders it to stop.”
“I will not sit idle as this time bomb keeps ticking,” Whitmer said.
I fully realize that last week marked the end of the 180-day period established in the lawsuit, and Whitmer’s concerns about a potential oil spill in the Great Lakes are warranted. Perhaps it’s time to build a new pipeline to replace the old, vulnerable one. There are solutions, and the state should work with the company to find one.
However, Line 5 has been aging for 70 years. And as her Op-Ed was being published, Colonial Pipeline — which “provides roughly 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel, including gasoline, diesel, home heating oil, jet fuel, and military supplies,” according to ZDNet — was in the middle of a crisis. The company had become a victim of a ransomware cyberattack and had not yet resumed operations.
Many gas stations in the affected states had completely run out of gas, which triggered long lines and price hikes at those that still had gas. Several states had declared emergencies.
Apparently oblivious to these developments, here was the Michigan governor demanding that another pipeline be shut down.
No one should be surprised by this disrespectful and graceless behavior. Anyone who witnessed her actions during the early months of the pandemic would expect it.
While many governors grew fond of and even took advantage of their newly discovered emergency powers when the pandemic hit, Whitmer was arguably one of the worst offenders.
She first showed up on the national radar after she accused the Trump administration of blocking the delivery of badly needed medical supplies to her state. This led to a public spat with then-President Donald Trump. When it was determined that she had failed to file the proper paperwork, she was forced to walk her story back. No problem. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd totally understood.
Whitmer’s heavy-handed tactics included sending warning letters to doctors to prevent them from prescribing hydroxychloroquine and ordering pharmacists not to fill any prescriptions for the drug.
She imposed random and unnecessary restrictions on Michiganders. For example, if residents owned a vacation home located out of state, they were allowed to travel there. If, however, their vacation home happened to be in Michigan, it was off-limits.
Whitmer banned public and private gatherings of any size.
Inexplicably, she also ordered Home Depot and Lowe’s stores to close off certain departments that she considered to be nonessential, such as seeds, plants and shrubs, flooring and paint. People were forced to remain in their homes, but the governor wouldn’t allow them to purchase materials to work on projects.
And the governor came under fire this month when it was revealed she had traveled to Florida in March — by private jet, no less — after telling her constituents to stay away from the state due to COVID.
Whitmer is a difficult woman to like. And the optics of publishing an Op-Ed demanding the closure of the Enbridge pipeline at a time when many of her fellow Americans were reeling from the effects of the Colonial pipeline shutdown make her look even worse.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.