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Peters Calls for Suspension of Line 5 Operations

CHARLOTTE, MIBelow is a statement from U.S. Senator Gary Peters on a briefing he received from the U.S. Coast Guard about recent damage to Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. Yesterday, at a Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing, Peters questioned U.S. Coast Guard officials about the decision to keep Line 5 open despite an undetermined risk to the Great Lakes.

“There are few greater dangers to the Great Lakes than an oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac, which would devastate Michigan’s environment and our economy. 

“Yesterday, I was personally briefed by U.S. Coast Guard officials in Michigan on the damage to Line 5 caused by a vessel anchor strike in the Straits of Mackinac. Based on the limited information currently available, two segments of the pipeline will require repairs in the short-term, but a visual inspection is still needed to assess the full extent of the damage. 

“Upcoming blizzard conditions and high winds pose a threat to the already-damaged pipeline and – even worse - would render on-site cleanup equipment ineffective in the event of an oil spill. We simply cannot afford that kind of risk to Michigan’s most precious natural resource. 

“Given the lack of visual inspection and impending storm, I am calling for PHMSA and DEQ to suspend the operation of Line 5 until a visual evaluation is complete and Michiganders can be assured that Line 5’s integrity has not been compromised by the vessel activity.

“In the Senate, I have worked in a bipartisan way to strengthen federal oversight of pipeline safety and will continue fighting to protect our Great Lakes from something as catastrophic as an oil spill.”