Temporary Shutdown of Line 5 Amid Lake Swells Topping 12 Feet

ANN ARBOR, MI – Earlier today, Senator Gary Peters released a statement revealing that Enbridge is suspending operation of its Line 5 oil pipeline amid swells in the Straits of Mackinac topping 12 feet. Senator Peters’ statement is reprinted here in whole as reference:

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) released the following statement on Enbridge decision to suspend Line 5 operations due to ongoing severe weather. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is reporting potential swells upwards of 12 feet, far exceeding the conditions under which on-site cleanup equipment is able to adequately respond to a spill. 

“It is simply reckless and irresponsible to operate Line 5 under the current weather conditions in the Straits of Mackinac. I was able to work with PHMSA Administrator Elliott in pressing Enbridge to take the right action and suspend Line 5 operations through the storm. Not only do we lack a clear understanding of the damage to Line 5, but the on-site response equipment available is completely inadequate to clean a potential oil spill under current conditions, putting the Great Lakes in grave - and unnecessary - danger.”

In response to this news, the following statement was issued by Mike Shriberg, Great Lakes regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation and a member of Michigan’s Pipeline Safety Advisory Board:

“Thank you to Senator Peters for his leadership in protecting the Great Lakes from this aging oil pipeline. It shouldn’t take a Senator to press Enbridge to shut down Line 5 when lake swells top 12 feet. Their own inadequate agreement with Governor Snyder promised to shut down Line 5 when waves topped eight feet. Time and time again, Enbridge proves by its actions and inactions that we cannot trust its operation of an aging pipeline for the protection of the water, wildlife and way of life which depend on the Great Lakes. While we still don’t know the extent of the damage following the recent anchor strike, this temporary shutdown should continue until there is independent verification that all needed repairs are made, including to all previously reported damaged protective coating, and a plan is in place to permanently decommission Line 5.”

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