State of Michigan announces selection of two contractors that will conduct analyses of Straits of Mackinac pipelines

July 12, 2016

Contact: Judy Palnau, 517-284-8300
Agency: Michigan Agency for Energy

LANSING, Mich. – The State of Michigan today announced the selection of the two contractors that will be conducting the independent analyses of the Straits of Mackinac pipelines known as Enbridge Line 5. The state received seven proposals to conduct the analyses.  Additionally, the State announced an agreement has been reached with Enbridge Energy Company, Inc. (Enbridge), the owner of the pipelines, to fully fund the studies, regardless of the content of those studies.

“This announcement ensures the State will get the information it needs to best protect the Great Lakes and the citizens of Michigan,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE).  “Moreover, these experts, who will work solely for the people of Michigan, will come at no cost to the State.”

Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems, Inc. was selected as the successful bidder for the alternatives analysis, which will comprehensively evaluate the current pipelines and the alternatives to them, including a wide range of potential impacts (both positive and negative) of various alternatives.

Det Norske Veritas (U.S.A.), Inc. was selected as the successful bidder for the independent risk analysis. The risk analysis will be used to determine the potential financial risk of a worst-case spill in order to ensure determine what resources would be necessary to clean up and pay for damages from such a spill. 

Both analyses will help inform decisions by the State of Michigan about the future of the pipelines. The analyses are expected to be complete in the summer of 2017. 

“These studies are an essential element to determining what risks we face, what resources we need, and what alternatives exist for these pipelines,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.  “Our priority for the next year will be ensuring these studies can be completed quickly and well, with ample opportunities for public input.”

Additionally, the State and Enbridge reached agreement on a funding mechanism for these studies.  A Contribution in Aid Agreement negotiated by the Office of the Attorney General, provides that the Attorney General will receive from Enbridge and hold in escrow sufficient funds to complete the studies, regardless of their content.  Additionally, the agreement provides for a process to ensure data requests by contractors can be met quickly and completely. 

“This Agreement ensures that Michiganders can be certain these studies were prepared by experts without a pre-existing agenda or desired outcome,” said Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.  “We will have the resources and the independence we need to do this right.” 

The selection of the contractors was made by the leadership of the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE), Michigan Department of Attorney General, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

The selection of the contractors follows recommendations that were made by a technical review team composed of staff from those government agencies. The PSAB and members of the public also provided valuable input to the agencies in the development of the Requests for Information (RFIs) that were issued on Feb. 23.

The RFIs were developed as a response to two recommendations listed in the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report released in July 2015. Implementing the recommendations of the task force continues to be a priority of the state of Michigan and the PSAB as they work toward ensuring the safety, upkeep and transparency of issues related to Michigan’s network of pipelines.

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