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Friday, September 11, 2020

Whitmer says she wants Enbridge oil and gas pipeline 'out of the water at the earliest possible moment'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2020 at 3:16 PM

click to enlarge In 2013, the National Wildlife Federation sent divers to look at Enbridge, Inc.'s aging straits pipelines, finding wide spans of unsupported structures encrusted with exotic zebra mussels and quagga mussels. - NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • In 2013, the National Wildlife Federation sent divers to look at Enbridge, Inc.'s aging straits pipelines, finding wide spans of unsupported structures encrusted with exotic zebra mussels and quagga mussels.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that the state has almost completed a review of the controversial Line 5 oil and gas pipeline in the Great Lakes and that both she and Attorney General Dana Nessel "want to get this pipeline out of the water at the earliest possible moment."

Whitmer made the remarks during a virtual gala for the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center on Thursday, according to MLive.



The Department of Natural Resources has been reviewing Canadian energy giant Enbridge's compliance with its easement agreement with the state.

"We know a break in that pipeline would be an utter disaster," Whitmer said. "As the DNR is wrapping up its easement review, I think it’s really very likely there will be a determination on that particular front in the very near future."

The pipeline easement agreement was drafted in 1953. At the time, the project's engineers boasted that Line 5's two pipelines at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac could safely last 50 years. Of course, that was more than 60 years ago.

Since then, the pipeline's current operator — the Canadian energy giant Enbridge — has been criticized for its mucky track record. This year marked a grim anniversary for the company: on July 25, 2010, its Line 6B pipeline ruptured near Marshall, flooding the Kalamazoo River with heavy crude oil. At the time, it was the largest inland oil spill in history.

In recent years, environmentalists have criticized Enbridge for violating its easement agreement by allowing large spans of the pipeline to become unsupported due to erosion on the lake bottom. In 2018, the company revealed that the pipeline had become dented by a ship's anchor, causing even the developer-friendly then-Gov. Rick Snyder to initiate legal proceedings against Enbridge. And this year, both legs of the underwater pipeline were shut down in June by court order due to a damaged pipeline support.

Experts have warned that a Line 5 leak could pose equal threat to Lakes Michigan and Huron due to currents in the straits, potentially jeopardizing much of the country's freshwater supply.

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