Canadian energy company Enbridge announced Monday that it will spend $7 million over the next two years on additional safety equipment to expedite the clean-up process in the event of a spill, despite the company’s insistence that the likelihood of there being a spill is incredibly unlikely.
The purchase includes equipment that would help quickly recover oil in open water and in icy conditions in the Straits of Mackinac. The company is also taking extra precaution with the purchase of floating barriers that can contain and absorb oil in the event of a spill.
Enbridge announced their safety equipment buys when it launched a relations tour in Michigan, a public relations event designed to convince surrounding communities that their Line 5 pipeline has never leaked and poses no risk to the scenic area.
Enbridge’s Line 5 is a 645-mile, 30-inch-diameter pipeline that runs through Michican’s peninsulas, starting in Superior, Wisconsin, and ending in Sarnia, Ontario. Built in 1953, the pipeline travels under the Straits of Mackinac and carries 23 million gallons of light crude oil and liquefied natural gas daily.
Although the pipeline is inspected regularly and monitored continuously by its operations center, environmental groups and communities are concerned about its high-risk placement in the straits area and want the line shut down or rerouted.
A senior manager of emergency response with Enbridge stated that despite the very unlikely chance of there being a spill, the company is ready to respond.