Straits of Mackinac

Via AP Photo/Al Goldis

State officials say they’re growing increasingly frustrated as Enbridge Energy reports new spots where Line Five has exposed metal. Line Five runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac between lakes Huron and Michigan.Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta has more.


Via AP Photo/Al Goldis

Enbridge Energy says this year was not the first time some protecting coating was scraped off the exterior of Line 5. We have more from Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta.


Via AP Photo/Al Goldis

The state is ordering Enbridge Energy to take swift action to fix portions of the Line Five energy pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac. As we hear from Rick Pluta, corrosion protections were eroded during maintenance work on the line.

Mackinac Bridge
Melissa Benmark / WKAR-MSU

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

Mackinac Bridge photo
Kevin Lavery / WKAR

Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline continues to face public scrutiny.


Mackinac Bridge photo
Kevin Lavery / WKAR

Michigan business groups on Monday defended twin oil pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac, saying Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5 provides crucial energy supplies and is safer for the environment than transporting the oil another way.

Mackinac Bridge
WKAR File Photo / WKAR-MSU

The state of Michigan has scrapped a risk study on Enbridge’s Line 5 and fired the contractor just a week before a first draft of the report was to be released. 


Mackinac Bridge
WKAR File Photo / WKAR-MSU

Enbridge says a test over the weekend of the line that runs under the west bay of the Straits of Mackinac showed no signs of leaks or breaks. Enbridge ran a successful test of the east line earlier this month.
  

John Gauderman is with Enbridge.

“Our job continues to be ensuring the safety and reliability of Line 5 through the straits, as well as our entire system in every community through which it traverses," said Gauderman.

The pressure test on Line 5 is part of a court settlement following the Kalamazoo River spill seven years ago.

Mackinac Bridge
WKAR File Photo / WKAR-MSU

Last year, the State of Michigan ordered a study of Enbridge Energy’s ‘Line 5,’ which carries up to 500,000 barrels of light crude and natural gas liquids daily under the Straits of Mackinac.  We talk with James Clift with the Michigan Environmental Council about the study and his concerns about Enbridge Energy's Line 5.

How safe are the oil and gas pipelines running beneath the Mackinac Straits?

For more than 60 years, hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and natural gas liquids have travelled through the lines daily without incident.

Wikimedia/Varnent

Environmentalists have been calling on Enbridge Energy for years to shut down the pipelines running beneath the Straits of Mackinac.  The company maintains that the pipelines are safe and in good condition. 

Now, a new study from the University of Michigan shows that an oil spill in the straits could impact over 700 miles of shoreline. 

Current State's Mark Bashore talks with lead researcher Dave Schwab and National Wildlife Federation regional executive director Mike Shriberg.

Mackinac Bridge photo
Kevin Lavery / WKAR

In the aftermath of the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill, environmental groups have been calling on Michigan to pay attention to a different Enbridge pipeline system: the one running beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

When you think of the oil boom in the U.S., Michigan might not be the first state that comes to mind.

But while the state is no North Dakota, that oil is making its way to the state, traveling through an underground network of pipelines.