Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday announced a legal agreement with Enbridge requiring the company to replace a section of Line 5 among other safety precautions the Canadian Energy company will be required to enact.
Enbridge will have to replace a section of Line 5 that runs underneath the St. Clair River with a new pipeline, temporarily shut down portions of the line during “sustained adverse weather,” undertake a new study on replacing the entire pipeline with a new one in a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac and look into new safety technology, the governor’s office said.
Snyder’s office also urged Enbridge to be more transparent after expressing alarm over revelations that the company had not been honest about the extent of damage to the pipe’s exterior enamel coating.
Line 5 carries about 23 million gallons of oil and liquid natural gas a day underneath the Straits of Mackinac and could cause environmental damage on Great Lakes shorelines if a rupture occurred.
“Business as usual by Enbridge is not acceptable and we are going to ensure the highest level of environmental safety standards are implemented to protect one of Michigan’s most valuable natural resources,” Snyder said in a statement.
“The items required in this agreement are good strides forward. The state is evaluating the entire span of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline and its future, but we cannot wait for the analyses to be completed before taking action to defend our waterways.”
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, the St. Joseph Republican who chairs the House Commerce and Energy subcommittee on Energy also expressed the gravity of the situation in a statement.
“This issue is not going away until it gets fixed,” Upton said. “Zero tolerance for error is the only thing we will accept along with the highest safety standards in place to ensure the Great Lakes will not be at risk.”
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who has sometimes sparred with fellow Republican Snyder on other issues, welcomed the development.
“Today’s announcement is a good step forward toward fulfilling our responsibilities to protect the Great Lakes and the health of Michigan citizens,” Schuette said in a statement.
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