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Advisory board reaching out to public on Line 5

Max Johnston
The group Oil and Water Don't Mix hold up a puppet of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette outside the meeting.

The Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board heard from concerned citizens about the controversial Line 5 oil pipeline Monday.

The board held its second meeting of the year at Petoskey Middle School with the morning devoted to hearing public comments. Activists from environmental groups and Native American tribes protested outside. Many spoke to the board during the public comments section.

Lisa Leggio worries about the future of the pipeline.

“Enbridge is such a repeat offender. This pipeline has already leaked several times,” Leggio said.

Line 5 is an oil pipeline running under Michigan from Detroit through the Upper Peninsula, via the Straits of Mackinac.

The 64-year-old pipeline has come under controversy amid recent reports of easement violations. The 1953 easement between the state and Enbridge allowed the pipeline to be constructed. In a letter written last year, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette accused Enbridge of failing to have enough anchor supports along the pipeline.

In response to the attorney general, Enbridge reiterated their compliance with the easement in a letter.

“Enbridge clearly understands the requirements and conditions of the Easement agreement and takes monitoring and management of our obligations under the Easement conditions very seriously,” said Bradley F. Shamla, Vice President of U.S. Operations for Enbridge.

Governor Rick Snyder created the advisory board in 2015 with representatives from the public and private sector.

The board is waiting on the results of an independent risk and alternatives analysis report commissioned by the attorney general. A draft of the report is due to be published early next month.

The board will then hold several feedback sessions to get input on the draft from the public before being finalized.

The schedule for the feedback sessions is as follows:

-July 6 at Holt High School in Holt, Michigan at 5 p.m.

-July 24 at Holt High School in Holt, Michigan at 8 a.m.

-July 24 at the Hagerty Center in Traverse City at 6 p.m.

-July 25 at the Little Bear East Arena in St. Ignace at 6 p.m.

There will also be an online option to submit comments.