TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Latest on an agreement between Michigan and Enbridge Inc. on oil pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac. (all times local):
Environmental groups are attacking an agreement between Michigan and Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. that sets a timeline for determining the future of twin oil pipelines beneath the waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge.
Activists say the only foolproof way to safeguard the lakes is to decommission Enbridge’s Line 5, which includes a 5-mile (8-kilometer) segment in the Straits of Mackinac. They’re unhappy that the deal calls for Enbridge to evaluate ways to replace the lines with another that would run through an underwater tunnel or trench.
Lisa Wozniak, of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, says the state is putting too much trust in Enbridge.
The agreement is also drawing reaction from candidates for Michigan governor.
Democrats Gretchen Whitmer and Abdul El-Sayed say it includes temporary half-measures that leave the lakes vulnerable.
Republicans Bill Schuette and Jim Hines say the plan is a good first step.
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.
The date is part of an agreement announced Monday amid rising concerns about the safety of Enbridge’s Line 5, which extends across northern Wisconsin and Michigan on its way to Sarnia, Ontario. A 5-mile (8-kilometer) segment rests on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.
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.
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.
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.
State officials have raised increasing concerns about the safety of the pipelines, which were laid in 1953.