Enbridge says it will continue its rock and soil sampling this week in the Straits of Mackinac. The company wants to build a tunnel to house a replacement section of its twin Line 5 pipelines in the Straits.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer halted state work on the project in March.
Ryan Duffy is a spokesman for Enbridge. He says the state permit needed to conduct the sampling was approved in January.
He says the state has confirmed that the sampling process can still move forward.
"We asked the state for some confirmation that we're able to still continue to move forward with this rock and soil sampling," Duffy says. "And so, they did confirm that we're able to move forward with that."
In a statement, Zach Pohl, communications director for Gov. Whitmer, says the state permit for sampling is still in effect. But he says the state has not authorized Enbridge to move forward with constructing a tunnel:
"The governor is committed to getting the existing dual pipelines out of the water as soon as possible to protect the Great Lakes. The permit authorizing the collecting of geotechnical samples is an independent authorization from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to Enbridge. The EGLE permit remains in effect and authorizes the geotechnical sampling. Based upon the Attorney General's opinion, however, the previous agreements authorizing a tunnel are void. The State has not authorized Enbridge to move forward with constructing a tunnel and any work to achieve that objective is done at the company’s own risk.”
Editor's note: Enbridge is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.