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New leadership of Bay Mills Indian Community
Bay Mills Indian Community

For the first time in the tribe’s history, the Bay Mills Indian Community will have a tribal council made up entirely of women. 

“For me, I really see that as the progress of our tribal nation moving forward in healing from prior colonization, that we have suffered from. A lot of our traditional structures that have matriarchal forms of government, matriarchal leadership, that were involved and kept a balance within our community,” said newly-elected chairwoman Whitney Gravelle

Is the Line 5 tunnel a bridge to Michigan's energy future or a bad deal?

Apr 1, 2021
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

As Canadian officials lobbied a Michigan Senate committee in March to keep the Line 5 pipeline open, Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) grew frustrated with a conversation that, up to that point, had focused mainly on the immediate economic and safety implications of a possible shutdown.

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

Attorneys general from Ohio, Louisiana, and Indiana are requesting amici status in Enbridge Energy's case against Governor Gretchen Whitmer's revocation of the easement for the Line 5 pipeline, which carries crude oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits of Mackinac.

© Photo by Whitney Gravelle

Michigan's Indigenous communities hold long-standing legal right to protect lands and waters.

On any given day, Jacques LeBlanc Jr. spends as many as 14 hours on the water catching whitefish. Out on his boat by the time the sun breaks the horizon over the Great Lakes, he moves between Michigan, Huron, and Superior for the best spots. In this part of northern Michigan, at the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula, fishing is a staple of LeBlanc’s Bay Mills Indian Community, one of the Sault Ste. Marie bands of Chippewa.

map of Line 5
Enbridge Energy

Fifteen members of Congress, including five Republicans from Michigan, are asking President Joe Biden to support the Line 5 oil pipeline.

During his first days in office, President Biden revoked a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, stopping its construction.

This week, U.S. Representatives Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet), Lisa McClain (R-Bruce Twp.), Tim Walberg (R-Tipton), Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) and Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) signed a letter on Michigan’s most controversial pipeline.

enbridge sign in front of a gray sky
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s notice to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac by May won’t prompt some of the changes many environmental groups hoped for.

It won’t affect how the state reviews a plan to replace the pipelines and build a tunnel beneath the lakebed, according to a ruling from Judge Dennis Mack this week.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, Grand Rapids public schools are back in the classroom. The district’s superintendent discusses the return to in-person learning. Also, writer Rochelle Riley tells us about her new book, which features children dressed up as iconic and influential Black Americans. Plus, a look at the history of Black sailors on the Great Lakes.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Canadian company Enbridge Energy refuses to shut down Line 5 and has asked a federal judge to dismiss the demands of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to turn off the crude oil and natural gas liquids dual pipeline that spans the Straits of Mackinac, the stretch of water which connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, many Michiganders have received a second round of COVID-relief stimulus checks over the past couple of weeks — but for some, it’s not enough. We take a look at how far a one-time $600 check goes when you’re living on the edge of poverty. Also, a reporter talks us through the latest developments with Enbridge’s controversial Line 5 pipeline in the Great Lakes. Plus, the future of cash bail programs, which have come under scrutiny in Michigan.

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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public comment period Monday as part of a review of Enbridge Energy’s permit for a tunnel to house a replacement section of the Line 5 pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

As part of the process, the Army Corps will determine whether an additional environmental impact review of the project is necessary.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State regulators plan to take a little more time reviewing the permit applications for Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 tunnel project in the Straits of Mackinac.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) says it is extending its review until January 2021.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Enbridge has taken its legal battle to federal court to keep oil flowing through its dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac. 

The suit is intended to counter an effort by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) to revoke the company’s easement to operate the pipeline. The easement dates back to 1953.

Earlier this month, Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources informed Enbridge of plans to revoke the easement, citing numerous issues. At the same time, the state also filed a motion in Ingham County Circuit Court to enforce the revocation of the easement.


Unsplash

Today on Stateside, COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the state. We check in with an Upper Peninsula health department about the outbreak’s impact in the area. Also, U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-13th) on Election Day results and the needs of her district. Plus, new music from a Flint singer-songwriter and musician.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 Updated 2:38 p.m. to include statement from Enbridge Energy. 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to revoke the easement the state granted in 1953 that allows Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 to cross the Straits of Mackinac.

The announcement came as the Department of Natural Resources released a review of Enbridge’s record over the 67 years the Line 5 dual pipelines have sat on the bottom of the Straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The DNR cited the Canadian pipeline company’s “historic failures and current non-compliance” as reasons to revoke the easement.

Emergency room hospital
Pixabay

Today on Stateside, the Michigan Republican Party issued a number of unsubstantiated claims against election proceedings in Detroit this week. But on a county by county level, Michigan’s elections appear to have run remarkably smoothly. We check in with a county clerk about how the tabulation process went. Also, a reporter discusses an Upper Peninsula hospital’s preparations for another COVID-19 surge. 

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.

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.

Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A Michigan judge ruled Wednesday to keep a temporary restraining order against Enbridge in place while allowing the company to resume operations through the western leg of the Line 5 twin pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. 

Ingham County Circuit Judge James Jamo's order stops short of granting state Attorney General Dana Nessel’s request for an injunction against the company, instead extending and modifying the existing restraining order. 

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.

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