Mackinac Straits Oil Pipeline Temporarily Shut Down Due to Anchor Support Damage

"This should be the end of the line for Line 5."

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN — Enbridge Energy has been forced to temporarily shut down its Line 5 oil pipeline that cuts across the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes.  As Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reports in her letter to Enbridge, there is significant damage to one of the anchor supports.  This comes within weeks of Enbridge disclosing gaps in the coating and on the same day that it was revealed that Enbridge Energy was fined by the EPA for lack of compliance with safety requirements on other pipelines.  Those requirements were put in place as a settlement with the federal government in the wake of Enbridge’s Kalamazoo River spill in 2010.  Enbridge has previously been in violation of the terms of its easement for Line 5’s crossing of the Straits of Mackinac due to lack of anchor supports.

The following on-the-record statement can be attributed to Mike Shriberg, Great Lakes Regional Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation and former member of the state of Michigan’s Pipeline Safety Advisory Board.

“This should be the end of the line for Line 5.  How many more shoes have to drop until we stop putting the Great Lakes, our drinking water, our economy and our way of life at risk? The National Wildlife Federation applauds Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel for requiring Enbridge to prove that Line 5 is safe. Any safety determination needs to come directly from a third party as Enbridge has proven that it cannot be trusted with Michigan’s most valuable natural, economic and cultural resource.  This latest violation should lead the governor to follow through on her promise to revoke Enbridge’s easement to operate in the Straits of Mackinac.  What more evidence does the governor need of the immediate threat that Line 5 poses?”

This is the latest episode in a series of accidents and mismanagement on Line 5. There have already been at least 33 spills from the land-based segments of the 67 year old pipeline in addition to multiple easement violations in the Straits portion of Line 5 (as well as at least one recorded anchor strike). Enbridge also operated the pipeline that ruptured and spilled more than 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River, contaminating more than 38 miles of that river.

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