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Oil Pipeline Under Mackinac Straits May Get Examined

Apr 6, 2016

Straits of Mackinac
Credit Coast Guard News / flickr.com

The state has extended the deadline for companies to bid on work studying of Enbridge Line 5.  That’s the oil and gas pipeline that runs under the Mackinac straits. 

  

The study will include a risk analysis of the 60-year-old pipeline and alternatives to shipping oil and gas beneath the Straits of Mackinac that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.  “That will provide an independent, third-party look at the risks associated with Enbridge Line 5, as well as the alternatives to using that pipeline,” said Judy Palnau with the Michigan Public Service Commission.  She says the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board will use the findings to make recommendations on the future of Enbridge Line 5. 

Environmental groups have questioned the safety of the line and the wisdom of moving oil underwater in the Great Lakes.  James Clift is with the Michigan Environmental Council.  He says the risk analysis and looking at other options will be useful.  “Could you construct an alternative pipeline?” he said.  “Is there other transportation methods, or is it replacement of the current one?  What can you do to better protect the lakes.”

Enbridge says the line is safe and a better alternative to trucks or ships moving oil and gas around the region.   The task force will issue its recommendations later this year.

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org