Enbridge and Michigan State agreement lays out path forward for addressing future of Line 5

November 27, 2017

Nov. 27, 2017

Enbridge has entered into an agreement with the State of Michigan, laying out a path forward for addressing the future of Line 5. The agreement increases collaboration and coordination between the State and Enbridge and contains seven key actions that move toward a long term solution.

From an engineering and operational perspective, on-going inspections and studies show that Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac remains in good shape and is fit for service. We realize our internal technical studies and understanding haven’t translated well into reassuring the public or Michigan leaders about the ongoing safe operation of Line 5. We apologize if our actions sometimes have created confusion.

Many Michiganders have joined Governor Snyder in expressing, with increasing frequency, concerns regarding the safety of Line 5 in the Straits. Enbridge not only is hearing those concerns, we are listening. Most important, we are taking actions to address these concerns.

We hope the agreement is a step in a positive direction to demonstrate our commitment to doing the right thing to serve Michigan and protect the waters of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are a treasure that must be preserved now and for future generations.

Trust is earned, and while we have a long way to go, we remain committed to doing what it takes to rebuild trust and uphold our pledge to protect the environment while safely meeting Michigan’s energy needs.

We appreciate the emphasis that Governor Snyder, other state leaders and the public place on the stewardship responsibilities that come with being part of the Great Lakes community. We also will do our part with increased responsiveness by taking meaningful, concrete actions.

Details of Agreement Summary

All of the actions being taken today are designed to drive down risk and to further protect the waters of the Great Lakes while making sure the State and the public are informed every step of the way.

There are seven ways this agreement protects Michigan’s water:

  • By June 2018, we will have evaluated three options for the eventual replacement of the dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac. The options that we will evaluate with the State include: placing a new pipeline in a tunnel under the Straits; installing a new pipeline below the lakebed of the Straits using horizontal directional drilling (HDD); and, creating a trench on the bottom of the Great Lakes and placing a new pipeline in a secondary containment structure or system.
  • Temporarily shut down the operation of Line 5 when adverse weather conditions create   sustained waves higher than eight feet in the Straits
  • Put into place additional safety measures to further mitigate a potential anchor strike from boats in the Straits
  • By June 2018, evaluate additional state-of-the-art tools and underwater technologies that could help further inspect and maintain Line 5 in the Straits and assess the condition of the coating on the twin pipelines
  • Work with the State on plans to enhance safety and reduce the potential impacts at other Line 5 water crossings
  • Replace the Line 5 St. Clair River crossing as soon as we receive the necessary federal and state approvals. The new pipe will be installed underneath the river bed using HDD; and,
  • Increase coordination with the State regarding the operations, maintenance and future of Line 5 and promote transparency between Enbridge and the State of Michigan. State representatives will have access to our data, studies, and will collaborate with us every step of the way.