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Environment & Climate Change

Pipeline safety advisor says Gov. Snyder’s Line 5 tunnel idea just “kicks the can down the road”

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan
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A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.

There's been more than a little concern regarding Enbridge's oil and gas pipeline known as Line 5. It crosses under the Mackinac Straits near the Mighty Mac Bridge, and it's more than 60 years old.

Some of its protective coating is missing and there's been some interior corrosion, but Enbridge says Line 5 is safe.

But, recent vessel activity – presumably an anchor strike – damaged submerged electric cables and also dented Line 5 in three spots. 

Enbridge, a Michigan Radio sponsor,  insists those dents are small and that they’re no threat to the pipeline.

Gov. Snyder wants Line 5 to be decommissioned and for Enbridge to tunnel far below the straits if it wants a replacement pipeline.

Mike Shriberg, executive director for the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center and a member of Michigan’s Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, joined Stateside today to discuss whether tunneling under the Mackinac Straits for a replacement Line 5 would solve the problem, and why Line 5 is “definitely not critical energy infrastructure” in Michigan. Shriberg also explains what he recommends the governor do next.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)