by Bruce Walker
Both legs of Enbridge’s Line 5 have been given the legal go-ahead to resume operations across the Straits of Mackinac.
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge James Jamo approved the resumption of Line 5 activity after receiving authorization from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
According to Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes in an email to The Center Square: “Enbridge plans to restart the east segment of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac after receiving authorization from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and approval from the Michigan Circuit Court.”
Both the east and west legs of Line 5 were closed June by Enbridge in June after an anchor support was compromised on the east leg of the pipeline. After determining the west leg was not affected, Enbridge reopened it two days later, sparking outrage from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
“The decision to allow the restart of the east segment of Line 5 is a win for the many residents and businesses in Michigan and the Great Lakes region who depend on the energy Line 5 delivers,” Barnes continued.
Both the governor and attorney general are outspoken opponents of the pipeline, which has been in operation for 67 years without a major incident. Whitmer and Nessel are also opposed to the company’s plan to move the pipeline into a tunnel buried 100-feet beneath the lake bed, a $500 million project Enbridge has said it would shoulder entirely.
Enbridge has stated closure of Line 5 would necessitate the daily use of 2,000 tanker trucks to carry fuel over Michigan roads.
“Enbridge will continue to focus on the safe operation of the dual Line 5 pipelines at the Straits of Mackinac, ensuring the Great Lakes are protected while also reliably delivering the energy and feedstock that helps to fuel Michigan’s and the region’s economy,” Barnes said.
If all goes according to plan, the east leg will become operative as early as Thursday afternoon.
“As background, we are waiting on a representative from PHMSA to arrive who will witness the restart as part of the court agreement,” Barnes said. “That could happen by [Thursday] afternoon.”
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Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.
Photo “Oil Pipeline” by Arthur Chapman CC2.0