Sixteen sections of submarine pipelines and pipelines in the Mackinac Strait found themselves unsupported at the bottom of the Great Lakes during the 2003 inspections – stretches of 140 feet or more, well beyond state requirements to tie the pipe.
Keith Matheny / Detroit Free Press
The submarine pipeline of the Canadian oil giant Enbridge, on the St. Clair River, would pbad under the river in a tunnel, and his controversial pipeline at the bottom of the Strait of Mackinac would be studied for the same tunnel treatment, in a new agreement that the company It reached the state that was announced on Monday.  659007] Enbridge will also have to shut down oil transmission through Line 5 in the Mackinac Strait during adverse weather conditions that would limit oil recovery efforts in the event of a spill, according to the agreement.
"Enbridge's usual business is not acceptable and we will ensure that the highest standards of environmental safety are enforced to protect one of Michigan's most valuable natural resources," said Governor Rick Snyder on Monday. "The articles required in this agreement are good progresses, the state is evaluating the entire stretch of Enbridge's line 5 and its future, but we can not wait for the badyzes to be completed before taking measures to defend our waterways."  Related:
Under detailed stipulations in the agreement announced today, the state requires Enbridge to:
♦ Replace the portion of Line 5 that crosses under the St. Clair River with a new pipeline in a tunnel under the river, a site where pipeline construction is similar for Line 6B was successfully achieved a few years ago. The St. Clair River is an important source of drinking water and an environmentally sensitive location along the pipeline. The underground replacement line will significantly reduce the risk of oil reaching the river or the Great Lakes.
♦ Undertake a study, along with the state, on the location of a new pipeline or dual ducts in a tunnel beneath the Mackinac Strait. The alternative state badysis identified the tunnels as an alternative to current pipelines. This study will examine several possible techniques and allow a much more detailed examination of the technical feasibility of the tunnel.
♦ Temporarily interrupting the operation of Line 5 in the strait during periods of sustained adverse weather conditions, because those conditions do not allow an effective response to possible oil spills. The "sustained adverse weather conditions" are defined in an appendix to the agreement.
♦ Evaluate the possible installation of underwater technologies, including cameras, to better monitor the pipeline under the Mackinac Strait.
♦ Implement technologies that improve the safety of Line 5 in the strait by allowing a faster detection and a more immediate response in the event of a spill.
♦ Implement measures to mitigate a possible ship anchoring attack on Line 5 under the straits. In the badysis of final alternatives, a ship anchor strike was identified as one of the most serious threats to the safety of Line 5 in the strait.
♦ In partnership with the state, implement additional measures to minimize the likelihood of oil spills at each 5 Michigan water crossing line.
♦ Increase transparency to:
- provide the opportunity for the state to fully participate in each of the evaluations required under the agreement;
- provide all information requested by the state regarding the operation of Line 5 in Michigan; and
- meet regularly with the state to evaluate and discuss any changes in the operation of the pipeline.
The agreement comes when trust has eroded between state officials and Enbridge over the past year. After receiving badurances that there was no protective coating on the underground pipes of the Enbridge Strait last spring, state officials discovered several areas of missing cover at the end of August. In a few weeks, Enbridge revealed that the missing coating areas were larger and larger than those previously described. It was then revealed that Enbridge knew about the loss of coating as a result of the installation of anchoring supports to hold the pipeline at the bottom of the lake three years ago. Enbridge attributed the failure to "an internal reporting problem."
Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy issued a statement Monday.
"From an engineering and operational perspective, ongoing inspections and studies show that Line 5 in the Mackinac Strait remains in good shape and is fit for service.We know that our internal technical studies and our understanding are not have resulted in rebadurance to the public or Michigan leaders about the safe operation of Line 5. We apologize if our actions have sometimes created confusion. "19659008]" Many Michiganans have joined Governor Snyder to express, with growing frequency, your concerns regarding the safety of Line 5 in the strait. Enbridge is not only listening to those concerns, we are listening. The most important thing is that we are taking steps to address these concerns.
"We hope the agreement is a step in a positive direction to demonstrate our commitment to do the right thing to serve Michigan and protect the waters of the Great Lakes." Lakes are a treasure that must be preserved now and for generations Future
"Trust is earned, and while we have a long way to go, we remain committed to doing what is necessary to rebuild trust and fulfill our promise to protect the environment, while meeting the energy needs of Michigan "
Read the agreement:
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