EGLE asks for revisions on Enbridge’s tunnel permit application

May 7, 2020

 

The proposed Line 5 tunnel would run under the Straits of Mackinac.
Credit Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Enbridge Energy’s permit application to build a tunnel for the Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac needs revisions. 

That’s what the Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) told the company this week. 

Specifically, EGLE says the application is too long, especially for the public to review. 

“The materials, as submitted when compiled, total over 350 pages in length and are 86 MB in size,” states the revision letter EGLE sent to Enbridge. “This is a very large sized document. EGLE requests that Enbridge edit submitted materials for precision and relevance to actual proposed construction.”

Also, Enbridge left out ongoing litigation with the state about the proposed tunnel. 

“There is known litigation involving the property with several ongoing legal challenges. On page 8 of the application there is a question asking about any known litigation involving the property. If not including known litigation information, Enbridge should explain why the still pending litigation on the validity of Act 359, the tunnel agreement, and the assignment of easement are not mentioned,” the letter states.

Although EGLE seeks more condensed information from Enbridge, but the process of asking companies to revise applications is common, says EGLE spokesman Scott Dean.

“This sort of back and forth process — your application is incomplete… we can’t act on this… blah, blah, blah — that’s pretty common for the majority of applications we get, particularly for complicated projects,” Dean says. 

Enbridge says it will provide the information EGLE has requested and resubmit. 

“This information request is part of the permitting process,” Enbridge said in a written statement. “Both the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy and the U.S. Army Corps review the application under their respective authorities. They first determine the completeness of the application and request additional information from the applicant, if needed.” 

After the permit application is finalized, the public will have an opportunity to read it and make comments.

Enbridge says it anticipates starting construction of the tunnel in 2021 and hopes the replacement of the Line 5 segment to be operational in 2024.