Michigan AG and Enbridge at Odds Over Oil Pipeline in Great Lakes

On Thursday, the attorney general of Michigan filed suit to shut down Enbridge’s 66-year-old twin pipelines in the Great Lakes. He said there is an “unacceptable risk” making it dangerous for the state to wait 5 to 10 years for replacements to get built.

Additionally, this past week, Democrat Dana Nessel dismissed the legality of a deal former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Enbridge had made allowing the company to continue adding a tunnel below their Line 5. Since the deal was made, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Enbridge have been in talks with Whitmer pushing for the project to be finished in 2 years, while Enbridge arguing they could not finish before 2024.

Nessel says she has “consistently stated that Enbridge’s pipelines in the Straits need to be shut down as soon as possible because they present an unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes…because of the very real risk of further anchor strikes, the inherent risks of pipeline operations and the foreseeable, catastrophic effects if an oil spill occurs at the Straits."

In opposition to their pipelines being shut down, Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy has stated their decommission would be a “serious disruption” to Michigan’s energy market and supply. Line 5 provides 55% of Michigan’s propane needs, as well as 65% for northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, and a large portion of aviation fuel at the Detroit Metro Airport.

Duffy adds that Enbridge “remains open to discussions with the governor,” and “is deeply committed to being part of Michigan’s future. We believe the Straits tunnel is the best way to protect the community and the Great Lakes while safely meeting Michigan’s energy needs.”

The pipes were put into operation in 1953 and, as Enbridge has said, are able to operate “indefinitely,” however opponents worry the construction on the tunnel encasing the Line 5 could prolong a possible unprotected accident or spill in the Straits area. Nessel’s suit addresses the anchor strike possibility and calls on an Ingham County judge to overrule the operation of the pipelines as they violate the public trust doctrine and the Michigan Environmental Protection Act as they have the plausibility of causing pollution and destroying natural resources.

Enbridge has brought to attention the safety actions they have put in place to prevent anchor strikes and has requested continued talks with Governor Whitmer with an independent moderator to assist in facilitating discussion as well as pausing their lawsuit filed against her.


Line 5 Pipeline Project Gets Threatened to Scuttle by Michigan Attorney General

In-order to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline that runs under the Straits of Macinac, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel has threatened to “use every resource available”, in a statement on Monday.

It was just a month ago that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered a halt to the work on a tunnel beneath the Straits as part of the plan to replace a section of Line 5. Attorney General was responding to media inquiries regarding her position on the oil pipeline and its fate.

According to Enbridge, replacing the section of Line 5 is the only way to lower the risk of oil leaking into Lakes Huron and Michigan to nearly zero.

Although the Michigan Legislature approved in December 2018 for the pipeline project to replace the 65-year-old line, the battle for the fate of the pipeline still remains.


Enbridge's $500 Million Line 5 Replacement Gets Huge Boost After Senate Approves Bill

The Michigan Senate voted Wednesday to facilitate a deal to replace Enbridge’s 65-year-old Line 5 oil pipeline in the Great Lakes.

The deal results in approved legislation empowering a new authority to oversee the construction and operation of a utility tunnel that would encase the new pipeline.

The approval was granted by the Michigan Senate following a 25-13 vote on Wednesday.

The bill will now be sent to the House for consideration.

The engineering project is expected to take seven to 10 years to complete and could hit $500 million, all of which the Enbridge would pay.

Iron Mountain Daily News

Enbridge's Line 5 Pipeline Replacement Gets Boost After 3-2 Vote in Favor of Tunnel

Michigan’s Senate Government Operations Committee passed a bill to help Enbridge implement a deal to replace the line 5 twin oil pipelines in a crucial Great Lakes channel after a 3-2 vote on Wednesday.

The Michigan Governor’s administration says the bridge authority is the logical choice to oversee a pipeline tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac. Those opposing the idea say that the authority’'s mission should not be altered so significantly.

Critics describe the 65-year-old pipes as an environmental disaster waiting to happen. In October, the administration currently in charge decided to announce a deal with Enbridge to replace the aging pipes. The current governor hope to lock in the deal prior to leaving office.

NBC 15

Part of Enbridge's Ohio TEAL NatGas Pipeline Now in Service

Enbridge said on Tuesday that part of its Texas Eastern Appalachian Lease (TEAL) natural gas pipeline project in Ohio has been put into service, according to a company filing with U.S. federal energy regulators.

TEAL is designed to be one of several different gas pipelines that connect growing output in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio with customers in other parts of the U.S. and Canada.

FERC approved to put the 0.95-billion cubic feet per day TEAL project into service on Sept. 12. The project will serve as a supplement to the $2.6 billion NEXUS gas pipeline from Ohio to Michigan.

Enbridge projected it would be able to put both TEAL and NEXUS into service in the third quarter of 2018.


Enbridge Strikes Agreement with Michigan in $500 Million Line 5 Tunnel Project

Enbridge and the state of Michigan have come to an agreement to replace the twin 65-year-old Line 5 oil pipeline in a channel linking two of the Great Lakes with another, running through a tunnel far below the lake bed.

The agreement would require drilling an opening for the new pipeline through bedrock at depths that could exceed 100 feet beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

It is expected that the massive engineering project take between seven to ten years to complete, and cost anywhere between $350 million to $500 million – all of which the company would pay.

Both sides described the solution as a win-win as it would get rid of the twin lines that critics consider a disaster waiting to happen. The company insists that the lines are in good condition, despite recent discoveries of dozens of spots where protective coating has worn off, including damage that occurred after a ship anchor struck the line last April.

"This answers the demand we've heard from the public to protect the Great Lakes and at the same time provide some consistent reliability for energy," Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, told the AP.

An Enbridge spokesman said that this agreement would “make a safe pipeline even safer, “

The agreement includes provisions intended to reduce the chance of a leak from the existing pipe as the tunnel gets built.

Provisions include:

- Underwater inspections to detect potential leaks and evaluate pipe coating
- Placement of cameras at the straits to monitor ship activity and help enforce a no-anchoring zone
- A pledge that Enbridge personnel will be available during high-wave periods to manually shut down the pipelines if electronic systems fail
- Steps to prevent leaks at other places where Line 5 crosses waterways.

Crain’s Detroit

Federal Officials Say That a Line 5 Leak Would be Dealt With Swiftly

After Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, questioned the readiness of government agencies as well as Enbridge regarding potential Line 5 leaks, federal officials responded on Monday and said they were prepared to act quickly if there was a leak in Michigan’s sensitive waterways.

The senator was skeptical and mentioned that the handling of a suspected anchor strike last spring exposed flaws in the system.

Enbridge’s Line 5 carries 23 million gallons of oil daily between Superior, Wisconsin and Sarnia, Ontario. Part of that pipeline, approximately 5 miles, runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac, where lakes Huron and Michigan converge.

Enbridge has reiterated that the 65-year-old pipeline is in good condition, challenging environmentalists and some elected officials who have said it poses a risk of causing a catastrophic Great Lakes spill and should be decommissioned.

“I don’t want to wait until the next disaster to consider what more we could have done to prevent it,” Peters said.

David Bryson, Enbridge’s senior vice president for liquid pipeline operations, said the Canadian company takes “extra precautions” with the underwater section of Line 5, describing it as “the most inspected segment of pipe in our entire North American network.”

The Seattle Times

U.S. Senator to Host Line 5 Oil Pipeline Hearing

U.S. Senator Gary Peters has called together a hearing at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee field hearing in Traverse City on Monday, to discuss the Line 5 pipeline.

The topic will cover how to prevent an economic and environmental disaster from a Line 5 oil pipeline spill and how to improve response in the case of an unexpected worst case scenario.

The hearing will feature testimony from Howard Elliot, an administrator of the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, as well as other speakers including a commander of the U.S. Coast Guard district that includes the Great Lakes. Enbridge officials are also planned to participate.

Peters has said that, “An oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac would be an economic and environmental catastrophe that could disrupt the flow of commerce on the Great Lakes, damage our significant fishing and tourism industries, and threaten the drinking water supply for millions,”

Over the past year, several areas of exposed metal in underwater potions of Line 5 have fallen off due to the turbulent waters resulting in missing supports intended to hold the pipelines in place.

Detroit Free Press

Report States that Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline Crosses 74 Sensitive Waterways in Michigan

Enbridge stated in a report submitted Friday that its Line 5 oil pipeline crosses 400 different locations of Michigan waterways, with 74 of them being particularly sensitive to leaks that could be especially damaging.

According to the report, these 74 locations are designated as "prioritized," which means they are particularly vulnerable should a spill occur in these areas.

Enbridge reported that it found a "high level of safety" in these high-priority areas, but the company also said further study is planned.

Environmental groups want the pipeline decommissioned, despite the reports, involving measures that would reduce Line 5 leak risks and improve detection capabilities.

Enbridge's Line 5 oil pipeline carries light crude oil and natural gas liquids for 645 miles from Wisconsin to Ontario.

Houston Chronicle

U.S. Government Fines Enbridge $1.8 Million for Missing Pipeline Inspection Deadlines

The U.S. government fined Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge Inc. more than $1.8 million for reportedly missing deadlines for pipeline inspections following a record-breaking oil spill in Michigan in 2010.

The fine is the result of the latest legal battle related to a pipeline rupture that caused more than 1 million gallons of crude oil to spill into the Kalamazoo River in July 2010, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Nearly 40 miles of the river, shorelines, and wetlands were polluted, and the pricey cleanup process took about four years.

Enbridge in 2016 had complied with U.S. regulators to conduct additional pipeline inspections to its Lakehead network of about 2,000 miles of pipelines and was to use tools that could detect cracks, corrosion, and other pipeline flaws.

But authorities concluded that Enbridge failed to meet the required timeframe for six inspections conducted last year.

Enbridge denies violating the timeframe set in 2016 but agreed to pay the penalty to resolve the matter.


Rover Pipeline Donating $270,000 to Emergency Responders Across Pipeline Route

The builder of the 713-mile Rover natural gas pipeline is donating a total of $270,000 to emergency responders in four states to help the departments pay for things like new equipment, additional training, or any other needs that benefit the responders in each location.

Rover Pipeline is donating $10,000 to counties along the pipeline route from West Virginia through Michigan totaling $270,000 in donations.

The Rover Pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners, is designed to move 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale production areas to markets across the U.S. and Ontario, Canada.

Rover Pipeline construction is 99 percent complete for the entirety of the project, the biggest natural gas pipeline under construction in the U.S. Full completion of the project is expected in the second quarter of this year.


Engineer from Michigan Tech to Lead Study on Underwater Oil Pipeline

Michigan state officials have hired a team from Michigan Technological University to lead a risk analysis of Enbridge's Line 5 twin pipelines that carry crude oil underneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The team will consist of Guy Meadows, a professor at the university and mechanical engineer. He is also the director of Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center.

Meadows will lead a group in an analysis that will consider likely results of a spill from the twin pipelines, including how far oil would go, how long cleanup would take, and how a spill would affect public health and the environment.

The team will also put together estimated costs to the economy and government in a worst-case-scenario oil spill.

The twin pipelines underneath the Straits of Mackinac are a segment of Enbridge's Line 5, which carries nearly 23 million gallons of oil daily through the waterway that links lakes Michigan and Huron.


Enbridge Temporarily Shuts Line 5 Underwater Oil Pipeline Amid High Waves

Enbridge temporarily shut the flow of crude through its twin underwater pipelines in the channel where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet due to high winds and waves.

The temporary shutdown of Enbridge's Line 5 is in compliance with an agreement made in November between the state of Michigan and the Canadian energy company to prevent oil spills and maintain pipeline safety in the Great Lakes.

Line 5 is required to stop operations when bad weather causes wave heights of 2.4 meters (or approximately 8 feet) or higher for longer than an hour. On Tuesday, waves exceeded 2.7 meters.

Enbridge will resume oil flow when conditions improve, according to the Michigan Agency for Energy.

CBC News

Enbridge, Michigan Agree on Deal to Boost Safety of Line 5 Under Great Lakes

Enbridge Inc. and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced an agreement Monday that will help boost the safety of Enbridge's Line 5 oil pipeline segment that lies beneath the Straits of Mackinac without decommissioning the line.

The deal includes a procedure for temporarily halting the flow of oil through the 5-mile segment when storms cause sustained periods of high waves. It also requires a study to examine the possibility of digging a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac through which the existing Line 5 or a new one could be routed.

The deal also requires steps to allow faster detection of and quicker response to potential oil spills.

Opponents of the 1953 Line 5 twin oil pipelines have demanded that it be decommissioned or rerouted because of its potential risk to the Great Lakes. Some officials have also raised concerns about recent discoveries of gaps in protective enamel coating on the line.

Line 5 runs for 645 miles from Superior, Wisconsin through northern Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario.


Final Report Analyzes Alternatives for Enbridge Line 5, Suggests Current Route is Safe

The final version of an independent analysis assessing the future of Enbridge's Line 5 twin pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac suggests that the lines are safe to remain in operation.

The analysis was commissioned by the state of Michigan and conducted by consulting firm Dynamic Risk of Calgary, Alberta. The analysis suggests six options for the future of Enbridge's Line 5 that carries 23 million gallons of oil and liquid natural gas daily between Superior, Wisconsin and Sarnia, Ontario.

A section of the pipeline includes a five-mile segment beneath the Straits of Mackinac where it divides into two pipelines. This section has been contested by Native American tribes, environmental groups, and others who say it poses a high risk to the waterway.

The 379-page analysis suggests alternative options to the pipeline route, like shutting it down entirely and transporting oil through other pipeline networks, building tunnels beneath the straits, or moving the oil by rail or barge.

The report does not endorse a specific action but says the underwater pipes are sound and that prospects of failure due to corrosion are small.

Public comment on the report will be accepted by state agencies for 30 days.

Houston Chronicle

Michigan Universities to Conduct Risk Analysis on Possible Line 5 Oil Spill

Michigan's Pipeline Safety Advisory Board is recommending that the state's universities analyze the worst-case scenario of an oil pipeline failure in the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge's Line 5 carries nearly 23 million gallons of light crude and liquefied natural gas daily from Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula to refineries in Sarnia, Ontario. Along its route, the line splits into two twin pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac.

Line 5, which was built in the 1950s, highly opposed by environmentalists and other groups who fear the aged line could break and spill oil into the Great Lakes.

The analyses would be led by Michigan Tech University, which would collaborate with other universities on the study.

A contractor conducting an independent analysis of the risks of an oil spill from Line 5 was fired in late June after the state discovered a conflict of interest with an employee of the company.

Houston Chronicle

Public Meetings Begin on Discussion Over Alternatives for Enbridge's Line 5 Twin Oil Pipelines

The state of Michigan is starting public meetings to discuss a report that lists alternatives to Enbridge's Line 5 twin pipelines located under the Straits of Mackinac where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet.

The report, released by Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems last week, presents six options for dealing with the Line 5 twin oil pipelines that have been operational since 1953. Options include rerouting the line, installing new pipelines in tunnels or trenches, or making no changes at all.

Environmental groups oppose the line and want it decommissioned, saying its age makes the line susceptible to spills. Enbridge maintains that the line is safe and in good condition.

The first meeting will be held Thursday in Holt, Michigan.


Michigan Fires Contractor Assigned to Enbridge Oil Pipeline Risk Analysis

The company set to conduct an analysis on a potential oil pipeline failure under the Straits of Mackinac was fired due to a conflict of interest with pipeline owner Enbridge Energy, according to the state of Michigan.

Det Norske Veritas, the contractor hired to conduct the study, was fired after it was revealed that an employee for the contractor previously worked on another project for Enbridge, which owns the Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

A spokesman for Enbridge said the company supports ending the contract and that it wants a process conducted that is independent and without conflict. The company and the state of Michigan are investigating what may have happened in the contracting process.

Enbridge's Line 5 carries approximately 23 million gallons of light crude oil and liquified natural gas daily. It begins in Superior, Wisconsin, splits into two pipelines underneath the Straits of Mackinac, and then continues to Sarnia, Ontario.

The line was built in 1953 and is opposed by several environmental groups who believe the age of the line makes it susceptible to pipeline spills.

Enbridge earlier this month completed two federally-required pressure tests on the twin lines under the Straits of Mackinac, both of which passed.


Second Enbridge Oil Pipeline Beneath Straits of Mackinac Passes Pressure Tests

Enbridge Energy said a second oil pipeline located under the Straits of Mackinac in northern Michigan has passed federally-required pressure tests conducted Friday.

The pass comes nearly a week after Enbridge announced that the west segment of the twin oil pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac also passed the pressure tests, validating that Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline is safely operational.

The company conducted a hydro test on each of the 64-year-old pipelines, pumping them with water for a total of eight hours. After the tests, the company found no leaks in either pipeline.

Enbridge said the tests should put to rest fears of those who believe the fitness of Line 5 is susceptible to oil spills.

Line 5 carries about 23 million gallons of crude oil and liquid natural gas daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.


Educational Event to Address Safety Concerns About Enbridge Line 5



The Lyric Theater in Harbor Springs, Michigan is hosting an educational symposium event to address the safety of Enbridge’s controversial Line 5 twin pipelines that run under the Straits of Mackinac.

Line 5 has been in safe operation underneath the Straits since 1953 and has not yet experienced a leak. In recent years, however, environmentalists and other communities have been skeptical of the pipeline’s integrity and have voiced their concerns about its safety.

At the event, which will be hosted October 12 at 7:00pm, individuals and groups will hear from a retired chemical engineer, environmental attorney, and other speakers about various topics surrounding the twin oil pipelines.

Other topics that will be mentioned at the event include the state of Michigan’s energy economy, regulatory standards, and assessments of oil spill response plans.

Petoskey News