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Environment & Climate Change

Head of Enbridge Line 5 tunnel project talks about transparency, what’s happening at the Straits

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Work continues this week on the Enbridge tunnel planned beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The tunnel would house replacements for the twin pipelines known as Line 5. Michigan leaders are still locked in legal action with the company over the project. Last week, a panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected a state request to halt construction. Stateside talked to Amber Pastoor, Great Lakes Tunnel Project Manager for Enbridge, about the company’s progress on the project, as well as recent news that the company failed to notify state regulators for two months after a 200-foot rod-like pipe broke off while Enbridge was drilling the lake bed last September.

We reached out to the state's Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to clarify what information was received about the broken boring rod. An EGLE spokesman sent us a correspondence the department had with Enbridge late last year. It specifies the company reported a 40-foot, not 200-foot, broken rod beneath the lake bottom. You can read that here.

In a statement to Stateside on the discrepancy, an EGLE spokesperson wrote: "...We are very disappointed with the communication from Enbridge during and after their permitted geo-technical work in the Straits of Mackinac during September of 2019. Although the incident with the drilling rod during the geotechnical boring work did not result in a risk to the environment or navigation in the Straits, EGLE expects more proactive and complete communication from Enbridge." You can read the full statement from EGLE here.

Editor's note: Enbridge is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.