NWF Statement on AG Schuette Suing Tug Company Responsible for Mackinac Straits Spill

Ann Arbor, MI – Attorney General Bill Schuette announced today that he is seeking a civil action suit on behalf of the State of Michigan against VanEnkevort Tug and Barge after determining that one of its tug boats caused the April 1 spill of mineral oil from submerged transmission lines crossing the Straits of Mackinac, and also damaged Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline. The attorney general’s press release is linked here.

In response to this news, Mike Shriberg, National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Executive Director, and a member of Michigan’s Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, issued the following statement:

“While we appreciate Attorney General Schuette prosecuting the offending vessel to the full extent of the law, allowing Line 5 to continue to transport oil and natural gas liquids is irresponsible, when its safety is in question.  Enbridge has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted with the Great Lakes - our most precious natural and economic resource.  Enbridge saying ‘trust us’ is not good enough given their track record of misinformation, mismanagement and violating the terms of their easement.  The AG should immediately stop the oil from flowing along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac until there is independent assurance that all deficiencies – including gaps in coating and damage from the anchor – have been corrected and that anchors cannot strike again.  During this stoppage, the AG should begin the process for permanently decommissioning Line 5. The time for delaying this decision on the future of the Great Lakes has passed.”

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