Praise, Not Criticism for Companies That Follow Rules

Op-ed on Mackinac pipeline published in MLive

Michigan’s regulatory system aimed at protecting the Straits of Mackinac are working, but that hasn’t stopped media, environmental groups and public officials from criticizing a private company that’s following the rules.

As explained in an MLive op-ed by Mackinac Center’s Director of Environmental Policy Jason Hayes, Enbridge Energy has come under fire in recent months after it reported erosion around lakebed supports of its Line 5 pipeline in the Straits and requested permits from the state to fix the unsupported sections. The company followed the regulations in conducting a survey of the pipeline and is now trying to repair the eroded areas.

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Enbridge did exactly what it was supposed to and the regulatory system worked exactly as it should have. In a perfect world, the company would be able to accurately predict lakebed erosion, many years in advance, and pre-emptively install supports before they were needed. But should it be blamed for failing to foresee the future?

Hayes said negative consequences may result if companies like Enbridge are criticized for doing the right thing; in the future, they may be less forthcoming with findings that reveal potential problems.

Read the full op-ed in MLive here.

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