Michigan filmmaker releases trailer for Enbridge Line 5 documentary

click to enlarge Oceanographer and hydrodynamics expert David Schwab shows a simulation of the currents in the Straits of Mackinac. - Still from Line 5.
Still from Line 5.
Oceanographer and hydrodynamics expert David Schwab shows a simulation of the currents in the Straits of Mackinac.

A documentary on Line 5, the controversial aging gas and oil pipeline situated on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, is set to be released this summer.

According to independent filmmaker Barton Bund, the documentary Line 5 will be released in two parts. Part One: The Threat, will be released sometime this spring, and the full film will follow.

"What began as a conventional, informative documentary quickly became a far more passionate project," Bund said in a press release. "After speaking with pipeline specialist Beth Wallace, author of Sunken Hazard, the 2014 report that exposed the dangers of Line 5, I soon realized that this crisis has potential to affect my entire home state of Michigan, and beyond."

The pipeline, first built in 1953, has been under increasing scrutiny in recent years. Operator Enbridge Energy was forced to install new anchoring after the authors of Sunken Hazard revealed the strait's shifting sands had left large expanses of the structure unsupported. More recently, Enbridge has been under fire for downplaying damage to the pipe's enamel coating, and after Gov. Rick Snyder said he was "no longer satisfied" with the operation of the pipeline, the state reached an agreement with the company to look at possibly moving the pipeline to a tunnel under the Straits.
Bund said during production he and the crew, "found places where the pipeline is bent, and sagging under its own tremendous weight. The bottom of the Straits are not a stable surface, and the pipeline is unsupported in very long spans." The film, which began filming in fall 2017, "is meant to be informative, but also a call to action."

"The risks outweigh the benefits," he said in the release. "This film is part of a statewide effort among citizens to protect those waters from this catastrophic potential spill."

The Straits connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Scientists believe the powerful, oscillating currents common in the Straits could cause an oil spill to potentially travel in either direction and could reach more than 700 miles of coastline.

The trailer can be viewed below. More information is available on line5film.com.

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Lee DeVito

Leyland “Lee” DeVito is the editor in chief of Detroit Metro Times since 2016. His writing has also been published in CREEM, VICE, In These Times, and New City. He once asked porn star Stormy Daniels to spank him with an issue of Metro Times. She obliged.

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