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Pipeline Safety Advisory Board Passes Resolutions Calling for Temporary Shutdown of Line 5

LANSING, MI — Members of Michigan’s Pipeline Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) passed formal resolutions - including a temporary shutdown of Line 5 - today at their quarterly meeting urging the State of Michigan to amend its agreement with Enbridge on Line 5, which Governor Snyder signed without consulting the PSAB in November.

The resolutions call for a shutdown of Line 5 until the entire line is inspected for protective coating gaps and all gaps are filled, and modify the definition of “adverse weather conditions” to a higher standard than eight-foot waves, which triggered a temporary shut down last week. An additional resolution calls for the state to more fully study Michigan’s needs from Line 5, including alternatives that focus on the needs for Michigan over the business interests of Enbridge. 

“These resolutions seek to strengthen the agreement the Governor signed with Enbridge so that it actually does what it purports to do: provide a path forward for determining the future of Line 5 while protecting the Great Lakes,” said Mike Shriberg, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center and a member of the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, who co-sponsored the resolutions. “While the few services Line 5 provides to Michigan have been shown to have feasible alternatives, there is no substitute for the Great Lakes and our way of life.”

On November 27, Governor Rick Snyder announced an agreement with Enbridge to study a tunnel replacement for Line 5, one of the alternatives included in a state-commissioned alternatives analysis released just a week before. The Pipeline Safety Advisory Board was not consulted in the agreement, which included a trigger for a temporary shutdown of flow through the pipeline in “adverse weather conditions,” defined as when waves reached an average of eight feet. While those conditions were met last week, the resolutions urge that definition to be modified to three feet and include ice cover and other conditions when the Coast Guard would be impeded from an oil spill response.

All three resolutions, introduced by Mike Shriberg, R. Craig Hupp and Jennifer McKay, were passed by the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, with support from the sponsors, as well as Homer A. Mandoka and Chris Shepler, and the rest abstaining. There was one “no” vote on the resolution to temporarily shut down Line 5 until coating gaps are repaired. Resolutions adopted by the PSAB are advisory and not binding upon the state. 

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