Enbridge Energy last week sought help from a state oversight panel due to the “inexplicably lethargic” permit review by federal regulators for the company’s Great Lakes Tunnel Project to replace Line 5 under the Straights of Mackinac. Alyssa McMurtry, staff writer from Gongwer, sat down with MichMash host Cheyna Roth to discuss concerns surrounding the aging pipeline.
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In this episode:
- The Great Lakes Tunnel Project surrounding Line 5 is being delayed til 2026
- Name Image and Likeness deals might be offered to high school students
- The Homeless Bill of Rights
The Line 5 pipeline carries petroleum products 645 miles from Wisconsin to Ontario in two pipes that sit in the water along the lake bed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began its environmental review of the project in 2020, and announced in March that the review won’t be completed until 2026. Enbridge had planned to start construction of the controversial pipeline project in 2024, so the 2026 delay is causing friction.
“There is some legal litigation. I know that Whitmer wasn’t too crazy about Line 5,” said McMurtry, adding that “this is a pretty drawn-out project.”
Enbridge officials attended a meeting last week with the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, a trio of state appointees tasked with overseeing Enbridge’s project to replace the lake bottom segment of the 70-year-old pipeline with a new segment encased in an underground tunnel.
The reason behind the delay is multilayered because of the complexity surrounding Line 5.
“A lot of people don’t want these lines operating in the Great Lakes anymore,” she said. “[The pipelines] are about 70 years old. People are worried about them getting hit and then causing a leak in the lake and just causing irreparable environmental damage. Because of the high environmental stakes the Army Corps of Engineers are going to take their time to look at the environmental impact to draft their statement.”
The Michigan Public Service Commission wants more information from Enbridge about the status of the pipeline. It has not yet been determined when that information will be made public.
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