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Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says a law passed last year to build an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the Mackinac Straits is unconstitutional.

One of the first things Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did when she took office in January was to ask for an attorney general’s opinion on the law, which former Gov. Rick Snyder pushed through in the waning days of the legislature.

Enbridge Energy

A new study predicts a major potential economic effect of an oil spill in the Mackinac Straits to the entire Great Lakes region.

The Line 5 oil pipeline which crosses the Mackinac Straits is operated by Enbridge Energy.  

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

Enbridge Energy will release a report on their controversial Line 5 pipeline this Friday at the request of Governor Snyder.  

Enbridge is expected to recommend replacing the existing Line 5 with tunneled pipelines, much to the dismay of experts and attorneys across the state.

The 65-year-old pipeline runs beneath the Mackinac Straits. It transports natural gas liquids to refineries in the Upper Peninsula and Canada, where the gas is turned into propane.

ENBRIDGE INSPECTION VIDEO SHARED WITH THE STATE OF MICHIGAN

Michigan’s economy would take a big hit from an oil spill in the Mackinac Straits, according to a new study.

A study by Michigan State University ecological economist Robert Richardson estimates Michigan’s economy would lose $6.3 billion if there’s a significant oil pipeline break in the Straits of Mackinac.

The study is based on a scenario where more than 2 million gallons of crude oil leaks from the Enbridge Energy Line 5 pipeline.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An environmental group says oil pipelines running beneath the Mackinac Straits could be shut down without disrupting oil and propane supplies in Michigan.

Environmentalists say there is enough capacity on other pipelines skirting the Great Lakes to reroute the crude oil currently flowing through Line 5. 

The report says at least 90% of Line 5's oil goes to Canadian refineries, so it's not essential for the Marathon refinery in Detroit.