Comments to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality highlight catastrophic consequences of an oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac
Northport - In comments submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality yesterday, State House candidate Dan Scripps called on the Canadian oil company to shut down Line 5.
“With multiple major spills along Line 5, the fact that this 63-year-old pipeline was originally constructed to last 50 years, and the catastrophic consequences of any oil spill in the Straits to Michigan’s fishing and tourism industries and our quality of life, it is increasingly clear that it is time for Enbridge to shut down Line 5,” Scripps said in comments relating to Enbridge Energy’s application to rectify ongoing violations of its easement to operate its Line 5 oil pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac. Scripps added that as the grantor of an easement allowing Enbridge to use state-owned Great Lakes bottomlands, the State of Michigan has “clear authority to require full and timely compliance with all Easement conditions – or to revoke the continued use of state-owned Great Lakes bottomlands.”
The permit application that triggered the public comment period stems from Enbridge’s acknowledgement that it is currently in violation of the easement condition requiring supports along the twin pipelines at least every seventy-five feet. Despite its November 2014 claim that it was in compliance with this requirement, this is actually the second time in two years that Enbridge violated this easement condition. Moreover, since April 2016 the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been made aware of at least seven additional violations of the easement agreement by Enbridge, including concealing information about cracks, dents, and rust; failing to meet the pipeline wall thickness requirement; failing to meet the “reasonably prudent person” provision required in the Easement; and failing to demonstrate adequate liability insurance.
“Enbridge forever lost the trust of Michiganders with its million gallon oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in 2010,” Scripps said in a statement. “For them to acknowledge current and ongoing violations of the terms of its easement with the State gives us no choice but to fully and formally review all easement violations and determine whether continued operation of these 63-year-old pipelines can be justified.”
“We in Northern Michigan understand the dangers of allowing this outdated pipeline to remain in our waters,” Scripps continued. “We can’t afford to wait. It’s time to shut down Line 5.”