State Pipeline Safety Board to Discuss Line 5 on Monday

Jake Neher/WDET

The oil and gas pipeline runs under the Straits of Mackinac

A state board plans to review problems with Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 oil and gas pipeline at a meeting on Monday.

The Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board is expected to discuss what should be done after portions of a protective coating were accidentally removed. That was on a stretch of the oil and gas pipe system that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

I think the discussion will be on how to move forward with that, and how to work with Enbridge make sure that those coatings get repaired,” said Nick Assendelft, the safety board’s spokesman. “The board exists to make sure that pipelines throughout the state of Michigan are run in a safe way for the residents of Michigan and the environment.” 

Enbridge says repairs on the line will begin this week. 

The board is also expected to send a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. It asks for permission to create a statewide map and make it available online.

It would be really convenient if you could just go online and see a map. Right? Here’s where it is. Here’s where it crosses. Here’s how close it gets to my house, or my kid’s school, or whatever,” said Valerie Brader, director of the Michigan Agency for Energy and co-chair of the pipeline safety board.

That information is already available, but only on a county-by-county basis. Brader says the restrictions were put in place over security concerns. But she says it makes more sense for the public to have easy access to a more-complete map. 

Image credit: National Wildlife Federation

About the Author

Rick Pluta


Rick Pluta has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.

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