ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer wrapped up her three day Upper Peninsula tour Thursday afternoon at the U.P. State Fair in Escanaba.
Through the course of the Governor's U.P. tour, she was sure to talk about the problems facing Michigan. During her luncheon at the State Fair Thursday afternoon, she covered topics like the budget, the state's infrastructure, and even Enbridge’s Line 5 project.
"84% of the United States' fresh water is in and around Michigan's borders,” said Whitmer. “As the Great Lakes state, we have a unique resource, but we also have a unique responsibility. To make sure that we protect that water and keep it clean."
Governor Whitmer spoke about the current status of the Line 5 tunnel. She gave no update on the agreement, but stressed the importance of protecting our lakes, and the potential dangers an underwater line could create. Whitmer assured residents she is working to find alternatives if a new Line 5 cannot be constructed.
"I created the U.P. Energy Task Force so that we can really understand how we would build out the ability to provide low cost energy to the people all across the Upper Peninsula," said Whitmer.
As far as State Senator Ed McBroom, (R) 38th State House District, is concerned, there are no viable alternatives to the pipeline tunnel.
"John Kivela used to have a bill on his desk that he made everybody sign who wanted to close down Line 5, and it said, if you vote to close down Line 5, you have to spend a week of the year chopping firewood for people in the Upper Peninsula,” said McBroom.
Upper Peninsula representatives are in agreement that shutting down Line 5 would have a negative impact on jobs, the power supply, and the economy of the Upper Peninsula. Representative Sara Cambensy, (D) 109th State House District, says that without the pipeline, U.P. roads could be further damaged by large tanker trucks transporting oil.
"I think it's the best plan moving forward,” said Cambensy. “We can't just turn the valve and shut it off. It’s not that easy, and doing that wouldn't make any of us use less oil."
After wrapping up at the fair Thursday afternoon, it was back off to Lansing for the Governor. Her main focus upon returning to the capital will be the state's budget. Whitmer and the State Legislature have until the end of September to come to an agreement on a budget for the fiscal year.