LANSING — Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation that claims to regulate and address the potential of a rupture of Enbridge Energy's Line 5 but in reality offers little substantive change to the existing regulations or penalties. In response, state Rep. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) issued the following statement:

“We need strong policy to address the very real and alarming concerns regarding the aged Line 5 pipeline. With our environmental safety and economic security at risk, it is disturbing that this package of bills was introduced through misleading and disingenuous efforts. At the core, it is designed to protect Enbridge and various other corporate interests more than it serves to protect the environment and all of the communities that are directly impacted by the presence of Line 5, which encompasses more than the Straits of Mackinac. A rupture in this pipeline would cause catastrophic damage to our natural resources, communities and our economy; while we are constantly assured that would never happen, the research, the experts and the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force tell us otherwise. It happened in 2010, and Kalamazoo is still recovering.

“My Democratic colleagues and I offered several amendments to provide real accountability in the wake of a disaster, yet they were all defeated along partisan lines. This package lacks transparency, accountability and full protections to the people of Michigan. Our water is our most precious natural resource, and an integral component of our identity as Michiganders. It is deeply troubling that all of my colleagues do not take seriously our stewardship of it and all of our natural resources and refuse to heed the data-driven advice of experts.”