Michigan has turned to two companies to analyze the financial risk of a possible pipeline rupture in the Straits of Mackinac and to evaluate alternatives to the twin lines in the waterway.
Enbridge Energy, the owner and operator of Line 5 that runs through the Straits, agreed to pay $3.5 million but will not oversee the studies. Rather, Det Norske Veritas, an independent foundation specializing in risk management, will determine the costs of a potential oil spill.
Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems, a consulting firm that has experience in pipeline engineering and integrity management, will study alternative routes for Line 5.
"We're pleased that the board selected independent companies that understand energy infrastructure, and the important role pipelines play in delivering energy as well as protecting the environment," said Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy. "We expect this analysis will help build trust and confidence among Michigan residents in our continued safe and reliable operations of Line 5 in the Straits."
Enbridge’s 63-year-old Line 5 pipeline runs from Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula until it divides into the Straits of Mackinac, where it continues to refineries in Ontario, Canada. It carries nearly 23 million gallons of light crude oil and liquefied natural gas daily.