Port Huron Times-Herald: Senator Peters releases Line 5 damage footage
U.S. Senator Gary Peters has said residents of Michigan should know the "full extent of damage" Enbrdige's Line 5 pipeline sustained last year.
So he released footage of the pipeline taken after an anchor strike on the pipeline in April 2018.
"An oil spill in the Great Lakes would have catastrophic consequences to Michigan’s environment and economy," Peters said in a written statement. "Michiganders deserve to know the full extent of the damage to Line 5 from last year’s anchor strike – because there’s simply too much at stake.
"I urge the Coast Guard to swiftly conclude their investigation into last year’s anchor strike and to release the investigation’s results publicly given Michiganders understandable concerns. I’ll continue working to increase pipeline safety in the Great Lakes basin and hold operators to the highest standards possible.”
Line 5 crosses the St. Clair River in Marysville on its way to Sarnia.
The footage stems from an incident on April 1, 2018, in which sections of the pipeline were damaged from an anchor strike. In response, Enbridge has proposed a tunnel project to protect the pipeline, but the idea has received some pushback.
Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said the tunnel proposal is the best way to address concerns about damage to the pipeline.
"We reinforced those areas back last year, late spring early summer. Everything's been operating normally since then," he said. "Going forward, the Line 5 tunnel project would eliminate the possibility of an anchor strike because the pipeline would be inside a tunnel."
"That is how we are looking to safeguard against something like ever happening in the future."
Line 5 transports up to 520,000 barrels per day of lite crude, synthetic crude and natural gas liquids. The pipeline runs from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia.
The National Wildlife Federation has been a vocal critic of Line 5 and Enbridge.
“The released videos and photos show the incredible risk these pipelines, which are beyond their design life, pose to the Great Lakes and our economy," Mike Shriberg, the federation's Great Lakes regional executive director said in a statement.
"The images are shocking – the pipeline is clearly in poor shape and the damage from the anchor strike is extensive. The Great Lakes barely dodged a bullet. What’s not surprising, given their past behavior, is that Enbridge attempted to hide this damage from the public and decision makers, even after a sitting U.S. Senator made repeated, formal requests. Enbridge has shown, once again, that they cannot be trusted with the Great Lakes. We can’t continue to allow this threat to remain in the Great Lakes and urge swift action from the Governor and Attorney General. We thank Senator Peters for his leadership to require transparency.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer directed the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to file an emergency rule to prevent anchor strikes in the Straits of Mackinac, according to a news release from her office. The rule would require large vessels to confirm that they are not dragging anchors before they pass through the straights, the release said.
"Preserving our Great Lakes is a top priority for our state,” Whitmer said in a written statement. “I remain committed to getting the oil out of the water as quickly as possible, but in the meantime, these preventative actions will help to protect our most significant ecological and economic resource.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel expressed her support for the measure.
“I give the governor a tremendous amount of credit for taking the initiative to protect the Straits of Mackinac and the entire Great Lakes against anchor strikes that could damage Line 5 or any of the other lines passing through the Straits," Nessel said in a statement.
By: Jeremy Ervin
Source: Port Huron Times-Herald
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