Straits of Mackinac

Environmental Defence Canada

 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s notice to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac by May won’t prompt some of the changes many environmental groups hoped for. 

Kris Krüg on Flickr

The plan to dig a nearly four-mile tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac and replace the Line 5 oil and gas pipelines continues to move forward. 

Kaye LaFond

 

 

 

Line 5’s days may be numbered. 

 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the twin pipelines running along the lakebed of the Straits of Mackinac must stop carrying oil and gas by May of 2021. 

 

Philip Hutchinson, provided by Terri Wilkerson

A group of tribal citizens and activists have uncovered a potential cultural site at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac from close to 10,000 years ago — the end of the last Ice Age. Researchers say it could be a major archeological find.

 

The oil pipeline company Enbridge pushed to limit what a state regulator could consider regarding relocating the Line 5 twin pipelines across the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge did not want the Michigan Public Service Commission to consider a proposed tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac which would house a new section of Line 5.

Bailiwick Studios

 

Supporters of the Line 5 tunnel project showed up in full force at a state agency hearing this week. 


Flickr user Doug Kerr

 

 

A Michigan judge granted four tribes the right to participate in Enbridge’s Line 5 permitting process last week. The Canadian energy company is looking to relocate and build a tunnel to house its pipeline at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. 

 As Line 5 undergoes repairs from an incident in June, the Department of Natural Resources has requested that Enbridge Inc. pledge to pay for all potential damages caused by Line 5.

 

The written agreement would assure that Enbridge Inc. would pay for all losses caused to property or individuals due to the Line 5 dual pipelines through the Straits of Mackinac.

 

Courtesy of EGLE

 

An Ingham County Circuit Court Judge ruled today to continue a temporary restraining order against Enbridge, while also allowing the company to resume operations on the western leg of its Line 5 pipeline. 

The decision comes after a long hearing in court yesterday, during which the state and Enbridge each made their case for why the state should, or shouldn't, be able to regulate the pipeline.

University of Michigan

UPDATE: Judge James Jamo has granted state Attorney General Dana Nessel's request for a temporary restraining order that says Enbridge Energy must shut down Line 5 while the legal challenge plays out. That means the lines will be turned off until at least next Tuesday when a hearing is scheduled in Ingham County.

 

After an unknown incident caused Enbridge Energy to shut down the east leg of Line 5 last week, Attorney General Dana Nessel has requested that the entire pipeline be temporarily shut down until the damage is investigated further.

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. 

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.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Ice cover on Lake Michigan is happening less and less, and that’s why Grand Traverse Bay hasn’t frozen this year. 

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.

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. 

Hundreds participate in Mighty Mac Swim

Aug 12, 2019
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.

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