TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP/WLNS) – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian oil transport company Enbridge Inc. have reached an agreement they say will boost the safety of twin pipelines beneath the waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge.
The deal announced Monday includes a requirement that Line 5 be shut down temporarily during storms that cause high waves in the Straits of Mackinac for an hour or longer.
“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,” said Gov. Rick Snyder.
Michigan officials and Enbridge Inc. have set a deadline of Aug. 15, 2018, to determine the future of twin oil pipelines beneath the waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge.
Valerie Brader of the Michigan Agency for Energy says if the two sides can’t agree by the deadline, the state will “take another path” that could include shutting down the line.
But she said the state will consider other alternatives, including routing the underwater segment through a tunnel. Enbridge will evaluate three tunnel options by next June.
It also requires a study of long-term safety options, including placing the existing pipelines or a new one in a tunnel beneath the straits, instead of leaving them on the lakebed.
It also calls for steps to allow faster detection of and quicker response to a potential spill.
The agreement also includes deadlines for each action and the state will hire its own experts to monitor Enbridge’s actions and review the company’s data.
State officials have raised increasing concerns about the safety of the pipelines, which were laid in 1953.
The 645-mile pipeline begins in Superior, Wisconsin, and terminates in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Line 5 transports up to 540,000 barrels a day of light crude oil and natural gas liquids
ONLINE: Read the complete agreement