Straits of Mackinac

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.

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. 

Looking underneath a bridge at sunrise, a group of boats in the water surround several swimmers attached to orange buoys.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

More than 300 people braved the Straits of Mackinac Sunday for the 13th annual Mighty Mac Swim.

Enbridge Energy

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

Ballard Marine Construction

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says she’s ready to go to court to force Enbridge to shut down a pipeline, Line 5, that moves oil and gas on a route that runs through the Straits of Mackinac. That’s if the energy company and the state don’t reach a deal by the end of June.

But Nessel says it also sets a deadline for negotiations on the future of the pipeline.

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

Newly released images from Enbridge Energy show damage sustained to the Line 5 oil pipelines from an anchor strike last April.

The video and photos given to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation show a gash across the east pipeline, and several dents and scrapes on the west pipeline. In written testimony Enbridge identifies three dents on the pipelines caused by the anchor strike, the longest was more than 23 inches.

Enbridge also provided all this information to the U.S. Coast Guard who is investigating the strike.

GREGORY VARNUM

Electrical cables in the Straits of Mackinac were severed when an anchor struck them last year. More than 400 gallons of mineral oil, acting as a coolant, leaked out.

The Line 5 oil pipelines were damaged during the same incident.

A proposed tunnel would house Line 5 and the electrical cables to avoid more damage, an idea Enbridge Energy supports and Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she is open to.

But in a letter, Vice President of American Transmission Company Tom Finco says that plan could be dangerous.

GREGORY VARNUM

The Line 5 oil pipelines in the straits of Mackinac were struck by an anchor last April. Then at a hearing held by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) in August, Enbridge Energy Vice President David Bryson pledged to release information on the strike.

Steve Baker

This week on Points North, millions of people cross the Straits of Mackinac each year. But it’s also a highway for thousands of raptors - or birds of prey - that migrate over the Straits each spring.

Plus, after beating his own addiction to drugs, an advocate trains others to respond to an overdose.

Kaye LaFond

Over four million people crossed the Straits of Mackinac last year. But they are also one of the busiest migration spots for raptors, or birds of prey, in the United States.

MARK BRUSH / MICHIGAN RADIO

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in an interview with the Detroit News that she is considering a tunnel for an oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. A tunnel is one of several proposed alternatives to the Line 5 oil pipelines.

Gregory Varnum

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says a law passed last year to build an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the Mackinac Straits is unconstitutional.

One of the first things Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did when she took office in January was to ask for an attorney general’s opinion on the law, which former Gov. Rick Snyder pushed through in the waning days of the legislature.

Three people stand outside in the snow, smiling.
Cody Bigjohn Jr.

Indigenous water walkers will travel from Mackinaw City to Lansing to call for a shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipelines.

Sarah Jo Shomin, Nancy Gallardo, and Cody Bigjohn Jr. plan to walk 311 miles over the next 17 days.

They're calling the journey "N'biish Nibimosaadaanaa", which is Anishinaabemowin for "We Walk for Water."

They say they plan to stay in prayer the entire time.

Shomin is the leader of the walk. She wants to send a specific message to state politicians.

Enbridge Energy

A tunnel for the Line 5 oil and gas pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac has its first permit. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued it to Enbridge Energy on Tuesday.

The permit would let Enbridge take soil and rock samples from the Straits. Company spokesperson Ryan Duffy says the samples will help them determine how to construct the tunnel.

Governor Rick Snyder announced Wednesday that his administration has reached an agreement with Enbridge Energy to replace Line 5, the 65 year old twin pipelines that run under the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. 

The agreement calls for a new pipeline that would run through a tunnel dug below the lake bed. 

Aaron Selbig

Some lawmakers in Lansing say the entire Straits of Mackinac need to be an anchor free zone – permanently.

Governor Rick Snyder temporarily made the Straits an anchor free zone. That was after an anchor damaged the oil and gas pipeline, Enbridge Line 5, and caused cables to leak mineral oil into the water.

U.S. Coast Guard

Michigan’s attorney general is suing an Escanaba-based shipping company that he claims is responsible for a mineral oil leak in the Straits of Mackinac earlier this month.

Aaron Selbig

CORRECTION 4/13: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the U.S. Coast Guard said damage to an electric transmission line under the Straits of Mackinac may have been caused by an "anchor strike." The Coast Guard says the leak may have been caused by "damage from vessel activity."

Governor Rick Snyder is asking Enbridge Energy to accelerate it’s decommissioning of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

Aaron Selbig

The U.S. Coast Guard has organized a command post in Mackinaw City to respond to a mineral oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac. Around 600 gallons of fluid leaked from underwater electrical lines west of the Mackinac Bridge earlier this week. 

 


At least 400 gallons of mineral oil have leaked into the Straits of Mackinac.

American Transmission Company operates power lines that deliver electricity between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The company called the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday night to inform them of a leak of dielectric fluid, which is used to insulate the electrical lines under the Straits.  

Michigan environmental groups are frustrated with Ontario’s support for keeping an oil-and-gas pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The province’s Ministry of Energy sent Michigan a letter earlier this week that stressed the importance of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline to Ontario.

Environmental groups say this flies in the face of their efforts to shut down the pipeline. Line 5 carries crude oil and liquid natural gas under the Straits of Mackinac. Activists say it’s a massive environmental risk.

Cheyna Roth

New public meetings began Thursday about the controversial Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. Several state agencies and the authors of a report suggesting alternatives to the pipeline gave a presentation and took questions. 

 The pipeline sends oil and natural gas across sections of lower and upper Michigan and under the Straits of Mackinac.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN STUDY VIDEO

The state has released a list of possible alternatives to Enbridge’s Line 5, the oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. The report was written by a contractor and details some of those alternatives.

 

Line 5 is a 64-year-old pipeline that has generated a lot of controversy. The report was commissioned by the state to look at all the options for replacing it.

 

 

 

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