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Enbridge will release info on pipeline damage, VP says

Max Johnston

An Enbridge vice president says the company will release more information on damage to Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. A ship anchor struck the pipeline in April.


David Bryson, the vice president of operations at Enbridge, committed to releasing the information at a meeting hosted by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters in Traverse City Monday morning.


Peters pressed Bryson to be more cooperative with the state and to release video footage and pictures of the pipeline. Peters sounded surprised when Bryson agreed.


“You will? Well that’s great,” Peters said.


When asked why Enbridge had not released the information yet, Bryson said he believes Enbridge has been transparent, but they’ve been focused on investigations.


“We’ve been gathering all our information and trying to make sure that our line is safe, that’s where our focus has been,” Bryson said. “We believe that we’ve been providing the information as required.”


Michael Shriberg, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center, said Enbridge’s cooperation is a long time coming.


“It shouldn’t take a hearing with a sitting U.S. Senator to get to the bottom of this,” Shriberg said. “What I would like to see is that being a standard practice.”

The crowd applauded during Shriberg’s comment.


Sault Ste. Marie resident John Kehoe was at the meeting and said he was pleased with Enbridge’s offer.


“All your water issues should be fully transparent, and that’s something we totally lack,” Kehoe said.


An official from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said they will seek more independent oversight on Enbridge that isn’t reliant on self-reporting.


PHMSA and U.S. Coast Guard officials also said they will pursue more regulations on pipelines and anchoring in the Great Lakes.


After the meeting Enbridge said in a statement:

“We welcome discussions about the best way to protect the Great Lakes while safely delivering much-needed energy on which Michigan families and businesses rely each day.”

Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a reporter and quickly took on leadership roles as Interim News Director and eventually Assignment Editor. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio, WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing and NPR.