Line 5

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. 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

TRAVERSE CITY — The Michigan Public Service Commission is seeking comment on whether Enbridge Energy needs its approval to re-site a segment of its Line 5 oil pipeline into a bedrock tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac.

Today on Stateside, how one Detroit emergency room physician is searching for answers and solutions to handling the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, what would it mean to safely reopen the state.

Mark Brush/Michigan Radio

On Wednesday, Enbridge submitted an application for a permit to build the Line 5 tunnel.

The planned bedrock tunnel would encase the replacement for 67-year-old oil pipelines that currently sit on the lakebed beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Last week, tribal leaders raised the alarm about the state reviewing permits, holding public comment or engaging in tribal consultation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribal governments in the Straits area are unilaterally opposed to the tunnel.

Record Eagle/Pete Rodman

Enbridge Energy will not delay submitting permits for its controversial Great Lakes Tunnel Project because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tribal governments that oppose the project want Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to slow the process down. They say it’s impossible to prepare for public comment and official tribal consultations when most tribal staff are sheltering in place.

A conference room full of people facing the front, where a powerpoint is being given.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

ST. IGNACE — Enbridge Energy and the state of Michigan are moving forward with plans for a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge, a Canadian energy company, chose Great Lakes Tunnel Constructors to complete the project.

Great Lakes Tunnel Constructors was formed through a partnership with Michigan-based Jay Dee Contractors and the Japanese Obayashi Corporation.

Enbridge made the announcement ahead of a meeting with the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority Friday in St. Ignace.

Kaye LaFond

This week on Points North, democrats worry the controversial Line 5 pipeline is dividing labor,  environmental and tribal groups ahead of the Michigan primary.

Plus, hear how environmental policies could impact the presidential race in Michigan. 


Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan Democrats can usually rely on at least three groups for support: environmentalists, tribal nations and labor unions.

But there’s one issue they don’t all agree on — the future of Enbridge Energy's Line 5 oil pipeline. Some Democrats worry about uniting those groups ahead of the Michigan primary.

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

The Upper Peninsula Energy Task force met in St. Ignace today to discuss preliminary findings on Line 5 and the Upper Peninsula’s propane supply.

Public Sector Consultants, the firm hired by the state of Michigan, presented ranges of numbers to the task force.

They say if Line 5 was shut down between Superior, Wisconsin and Sarnia, Ontario, it could impact between 65 and 90 percent of the U.P.’s propane supply. 

If propane also stopped coming to Superior by pipeline, up to 99 percent of the supply could be impacted.

A long, thing metal pipe sits on a concrete floor.
Enbridge Energy

Enbridge Energy has retrieved a 45-foot steel rod it left in the Straits of Mackinac in September. Strong currents moved the rod 150 feet during its time underwater.

The company dropped the rod while sampling bedrock in preparation for building a tunnel under the straits.

The tunnel would replace Enbridge’s 66-year-old oil and gas pipelines that currently sit on the lake bottom.

10 most viewed stories in 2019 from IPR News

Dec 31, 2019
Interlochen Public Radio

IPR’s news team reported on hundreds of stories across the region in 2019, and the top 10 stories viewed are listed below:

 

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we examine propane needs in the Upper Peninsula. Do yoopers need Line 5 for propane, or would they survive without the pipelines?

 

Tribal nations, Michigan’s governor and environmental groups are all calling for a shutdown of Line 5: the pipeline that carries oil underneath the Straits of Mackinac.

People on kayaks work together to hold up a sign that says "SHUT DOWN LINE 5".
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Interlochen Public Radio has obtained emails between a private security contractor working for Enbridge Energy and several law enforcement agencies near the Straits of Mackinac.

The emails show the contractor kept tabs on anti-Line 5 activists (known as water protectors) in the Straits of Mackinac this summer. He shared information about their camp, protests and social media posts with local law enforcement.

A man points at a stove.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Tribal nations, Michigan’s governor and environmental groups are all calling for a shutdown of Line 5: the pipeline that carries oil underneath the Straits of Mackinac.

They say the pipeline, which is 60-plus years old, poses too great a risk of rupturing.

The pipeline doesn’t just carry oil — its liquid mix includes propane that is delivered to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. So, what would happen to U.P. households using propane if Line 5 shut down?


Gregory Varnum

The Michigan Court of Claims ruled on Thursday in favor of Enbridge and its plan to house the Line 5 oil pipelines in a tunnel under the straits of Mackinac.

In 2018, former Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law authorizing the Mackinac Bridge Authority to oversee the construction of a tunnel for Line 5. Earlier this year Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a suit for state agencies to stop work on it. Enbridge also filed suit and now the court knocked down Whitmer and Nessel's order.

A rocky river flows through a forest.
Tim Kiser/Wikimedia Commons

A tribe in Northern Wisconsin still wants Line 5 off their land, despite a $24 million offer from Enbridge.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa sued Enbridge Energy earlier this year, asking them to immediately shut down the portion of the Line 5 oil pipeline that runs through their reservation.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.)

The federal agency that regulates pipelines across the United States announced new rules Tuesday.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) implemented regulations that increase inspections and leak detection technology on pipelines, while also increasing oversight on damaged pipelines.

Enbridge

Enbridge announced that it will install more steel supports along the controversial Line 5 oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

Many have had concerns over the safety and integrity of the 60-year-old pipelines.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the plan and permitting needed for installation.

According to a press release, the energy company says it will put 54 more supports along Line 5. Work is set to start immediately and should be finished later this week, according to Enbridge.

Enbridge has installed 147 supports on Line 5 since 2002. 

Noelle Riley

County commissioners in the Upper Peninsula, Grand Traverse and Cheboygan counties passed a resolution that was partially written by the Michigan Association of Counties and Michigan Sen. Ed McBroom.

  

A large building with the words "Cheboygan County building" on the front.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Cheboygan County Commissioners passed a resolution to support Enbridge’s construction of a tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac Tuesday morning. 

GT commissioners pass resolution supporting Enbridge

Aug 21, 2019
Noelle Riley

A resolution supporting Enbridge’s $500 million tunnel to replace Line 5 was passed by the Grand Traverse Board of County Commissioners Wednesday.

Noelle Riley

A resolution supporting Enbridge Energy’s proposed tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac will appear before the Grand Traverse County Commissioners Wednesday morning, and it’s almost identical to what three Upper Peninsula counties already passed.

Noelle Riley

Two controversial agenda items proposed by the Grand Traverse County Commissioners supporting Line 5 and the U.S. Census question were postponed Wednesday.

Enbridge Energy

A tribe in northern Wisconsin is suing Enbridge Energy to try to force the closure of Line 5.

Algae grows on submerged pipelines on a lake bottom.
University of Michigan

Indigenous governments and activists in the Great Lakes have been leaders in the movement to shut down the twin oil pipelines that run under the Mackinac Straits.

Now, one of the most visible people in that movement has left his tribal government job and set up his own consulting firm. One of his clients? The pipelines’ owner, Enbridge Energy.

This sudden change has upset indigenous communities in the region, and some worry it’s a “divide-and-conquer” tactic.

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