Great Lakes Tunnel decision delayed as oversight panel wants more transparency from Enbridge
Construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel officially won't begin this year. The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority pushed back a key decision Wednesday.
Construction won’t begin on the Great Lakes Tunnel this year, as Enbridge previously projected.
At a meeting Wednesday, the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) delayed the approval of a milestone for the tunnel project.
The three-person panel met in St. Ignace to review a draft of Enbridge’s request for proposals (RFP.) If approved, this document would open up bidding for the tunnel’s construction.
But the MSCA tabled its decision until January, 2022, as it awaits input from Michigan’s tribal governments. The panel also raised concerns about Enbridge’s transparency and accessibility of the RFP draft.
The draft was only made available to an engineering consultant who presented a review to the MSCA. The document was not accessible by the panel itself, or the general public.
“Documents that form the basis of decisions that we make have to be in our possession,” said MSCA member Paul Novak. “More importantly, the public should have access to that underlying documentary record.”
Novak recommended that Enbridge make the RFP document available to the MCSA before its next meeting.
The Great Lakes Tunnel would house a new section of Line 5 beneath the lakebed, replacing the two submerged oil and gas pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.
The Michigan legislature created the MSCA after former governor Rick Snyder approved the tunnel project in 2018. Its purpose is to oversee the tunnel’s design and construction, so that—if permitted—it’s built to the state’s safety standards.