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This Enbridge boat is one of several on standby in the event of an oil spill.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The oil pipeline company Enbridge pushed to limit what a state regulator could consider regarding relocating the Line 5 twin pipelines across the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge did not want the Michigan Public Service Commission to consider a proposed tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac which would house a new section of Line 5.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Two bills introduced this week in Lansing would increase the legal penalties for large boat operators who don’t pass cautiously through the Straits of Mackinac.

House Bill 6307 is sponsored by Representative Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids), and House Bill 6308 by Representative Sue Allor (R-Wolverine). 

 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A scientific expert says Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Energy has not submitted enough information to the state for permits to build a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac. The groups Oil and Water Don’t Mix and the National Wildlife Federation included a geological engineer who build tunnels in an online news conference.

Brian O’Mara reviewed the reports in the tunnel proposal submitted to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. O’Mara says Enbridge did not take nearly enough core samples of bedrock along the route of the tunnel, and what they did take showed it’s not solid bedrock all the way across.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Energy has been eager to show news media its new Enbridge Straits Maritime Operations Center in Mackinaw City. Its purpose is to try to prevent another anchor strike or other damage to Line 5, the dual pipelines carrying oil and natural gas liquids.

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

Update: Thursday, September 10, 10 p.m.

An Enbridge spokesman, Michael Barnes, confirms that the east leg of Line 5 returned to full operations at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, saying, "The east leg is operating as normal."

Demonstrators unfurled a large "Shut Down Line 5" sign during the flotilla.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The State of Michigan is holding a number of public meetings online regarding the proposed tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac for Enbridge's Line 5. The first is being held Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

A dive team works on Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

 This story was updated 8:00 p.m. August 19, 2020. 

Groups representing business, environmentalists, and Native Americans are calling on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to shut down Enbridge's Line 5.

The more than 600 mile long pipeline carrying crude oil and natural gas liquids is 67 years old. A section of Line 5 sits on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lakes Michigan and Huron. The pipeline splits into twin pipelines under the Straits.

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

Four tribes can now participate in the Line 5 permitting process, after a ruling from a state judge last week.

The move comes as the energy company Enbridge wants to put a replacement section of the pipeline in a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge

A newly constructed segment of the Enbridge Line 5  is now operating. This section is under the Saint Clair River just south of Port Huron, Michigan and crosses into Sarnia, Ontario.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office will not appeal a court decision which would allow a tunnel to be constructed beneath the Straits of Mackinac to house a replacement for the aging Enbridge Line 5 twin pipelines.

The tunnel was supported by former Governor Rick Snyder and the Republican led legislature to house a replacement for the aging twin pipelines called Line 5 operated by Enbridge.

DAN WANSCHURA / Interlochen Public Radio

Today on Stateside, we dig into the history of King James Jesse Strang— a self-professed mormon monarch who held court on Beaver Island. Plus, we look back on the worst oil spill into an inland waterway in US history, which took place here in Michigan.

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

Enbridge says damage that prompted the temporary shutdown of its underwater oil pipelines in a Great Lakes channel may have been done by vessels working for the company.

map of Line 5
Enbridge Energy

The state of Michigan wants Enbridge to promise it will cover costs from a potential oil spill in the channel that links two of the Great Lakes. Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichenger made the request Friday in a letter to the Canadian company. An Enbridge subsidiary pledged in 2018 to set aside about $1.8 billion to deal with a worst-case spill from its Line 5 pipes in the Straits of Mackinac. But the state says the subsidiary doesn't have enough money to fulfill that promise, and it's not clear that the parent company is bound by the pledge.

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

Lawyers sparred in court Tuesday over Attorney General Dana Nessel’s request for a preliminary injunction against Enbridge Energy. 

The state is requesting a 14-day freeze on operations along Line 5 in the straits of Mackinac in order to review pipeline safety. 

Attorney General Dana Nessel requested the injunction on June 22 after Enbridge announced it had resumed operating the western leg of the Line 5 pipeline following the announcement of “significant damage” to the eastern portion of the line. 

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

A Michigan regulatory agency has denied Enbridge's request for quick approval of its plan to put a replacement oil pipeline beneath a Great Lakes channel. The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday voted to conduct a full review of Enbridge's proposal.

ROV footage of the pipeline along the Straits of Mackinac.
EGLE

Updated 1:14 p.m., June 25, 2020: 

Ingham Circuit Judge James Jamo Thursday ordered Enbridge to fully shut down the Line 5 pipeline at the bottom of the Mackinac Straits within 24 hours.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel requested the shutdown after Enbridge reported damage to an anchor support.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, recent developments with Enbridge’s Line 5 have lead Attorney General Dana Nessel to ask for a temporarily halt of operations. Tribes who live and work around the Great Lakes have had an eye on this for years.  Also, Michigan’s legislators have announced funding plans for reopening K-12 schools. What will that look like? Plus, what to expect when you’re expecting to travel this summer.

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

Enbridge had temporarily shut down Line 5 after discovering significant damage to an anchor support on one of the dual pipelines running through the Straits of Mackinac. The company notified the state about the damage on Thursday, according to a statement from the governor's office. The source of the damage is currently unclear.

One of the anchors used to hold Line 5 in place under the Straits of Mackinac.
Screen shot of a Ballard Marine inspection video / Enbridge Energy

The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a law that allows Enbridge Energy to build a tunnel so it can continue to move oil and natural gas liquids through a controversial Great Lakes pipeline.

Line 5 runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A federal court has sided with pipeline company Enbridge in a dispute over plans to deal with a potential oil spill in Michigan's Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge Energy

Enbridge said Tuesday it has found four places where protective coating has worn away on its Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

According to Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy, crews found the bare metal spots last week while preparing to install steel screw anchors. The spots are on the east segment of the dual pipeline.

SCREENSHOT FROM ENBRIDGE REPORT TO THE STATE

The Canadian pipeline company Enbridge was in court Friday fighting an attempt to shut down its Line 5 oil and liquid natural gas pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac.

In an online hearing before 30th Circuit Court Judge James S. Jamo, the Attorney General’s office argued the 1953 easement along the bottom of the Straits should not have been granted for the pipeline. It said that easement should be invalidated because it violates the Public Trust Doctrine.

Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan regulators want more information from Enbridge about its plan to build an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy told the company in a letter this week its application is “incomplete.” Gongwer News Service reports EGLE “took issue with Enbridge currently not submitting finalized dimensions for the pipeline, such as an exact diameter.”

Mike Petrucci / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, how one Detroit emergency room physician is searching for answers and solutions to handling the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, what would it mean to safely reopen the state.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Environmentalists, the Michigan Attorney General, and many others are keeping an eye on every step of the process of replacing Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge’s Line 5 is the pipeline that crosses the Upper and Lower peninsulas of Michigan to transport oil and liquid natural gases to Canada.

But there’s another place where Line 5 is going under a body of water that’s part of the Great Lakes. Enbridge is replacing that pipeline under the St. Clair River just south of Lake Huron.

A choppy surf crashes against the beach underneath the Mackinac Bridge.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is asking Enbridge Energy for more information about its oil and natural gas liquids pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac.

The director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources sent a letter this week to Enbridge, asking for detailed information about the more than 60-year-old Line 5. The director issued a 30-day deadline for Enbridge to provide the data.

A propane tank in the woods
User Rick Obst / Flickr / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Today on Stateside, nearly half of Detroit households can't afford to pay for pricey Internet access. But the city's director of digital inclusion plans to change that. Plus, Michigan's Republicans appear ready to take a Right To Life ballot proposal and pass it into law—completely bypassing Governor Whitmer and her promised veto.

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

Enbridge has told state officials it's going to pick up broken equipment from the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac ahead of schedule.

Back in September, Enbridge was taking rock and sediment samples at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. That’s when a 45-foot piece of equipment known as a grout rod – or a drilling rod – broke off at the bottom of the Straits.

Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Fourteen civic, environmental and tribal groups have urged Governor Gretchen Whitmer to take immediate new steps to protect the Great Lakes in case of a possible wintertime rupture of Enbridge's Line 5, the pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac.

In an October 25 letter, the groups asked Whitmer to tighten standards that would trigger a shutdown of Line 5 during rough seas and ice.

Two sheets of paper, one with a meeting agenda, one with a resolution in support of Enbridge's Line 5 tunnel.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Cheboygan County passed a resolution to support Enbridge’s construction of a tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac at their board meeting Tuesday morning. 

 

Eight counties — Cheboygan, Delta, Dickinson, Houghton, Iron, Gogebic, Grand Traverse and Ontonagon — have now passed nearly identical resolutions.

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