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Enbridge drilling to determine best way to replace Line 5

A photocopy of a photo of Line 5 being installed in 1953.
State of Michigan
Enbridge Energy's Line 5 is 65 years old.

Enbridge Energy has started drilling on property it owns on the north and south sides of Line 5, the oil and gas pipeline it owns under the Mackinac Straits.

Spokesman Michael Barnes says the company has agreed to look at ways to replace the aging pipeline. 

That could mean a new pipeline in a tunnel, inside a horizontally drilled tube, or in a trench.

"It tell us what the composition of the rock is, and so that will help both the state and us analyze what alternatives may be best possible for that area," says Barnes.

Enbridge -- a supporter of Michigan Radio -- agreed to submit its analysis to the state by June.

Environmental groups want the pipeline shut down, not replaced. They want the pipeline shut down, saying the potential for an underwater pipeline to cause an environmental disaster in the Great Lakes is too great.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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