June 29, 2017
LANSING – Following a review of the Dynamic Risk Line 5 Alternatives Analysis, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today stressed the need for a comprehensive plan based on science, available technology and common sense to drive the timeline for the closure of the Line 5 petroleum pipeline that currently runs under the Straits of Mackinac.
“The safety and security of our Great Lakes is etched in the DNA of every Michigan resident, and the final decision on Line 5 needs to include a discussion with those that rely on propane for heating their homes, and depend on the pipeline for employment,” said Schuette. “One thing is certain: the next steps we take should be for the long term protection of the Great Lakes.”
To ensure the safety and protection of the Great Lakes, Schuette named five important takeaways from the alternatives analysis.
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER. The Draft Report states on page ES-10 that Line 5 could operate indefinitely. The Attorney General strongly disagrees. A specific and definite timetable to close Line 5 under the Straits should be established. One viable option, a tunnel under the Straits, would create infrastructure and construction jobs in Michigan and would allow for continuous visual inspection.
LEGISLATIVE BAN ON HEAVY CRUDE AND TAR SANDS. Pending closure of Line 5, the Legislature should enact a statute to prohibit heavy crude and tar sands from being transported through the Straits of Mackinac. Currently, tar sands and heavy crude oil are prohibited from the pipelines by an agreement between Schuette and Enbridge.
PROPANE FOR THE UPPER PENINSULA. Propane processing in Rapid River, Michigan or a similar supply of propane for families in the Upper Peninsula must be provided for heating purposes.
MICHIGAN ENERGY. Michigan's energy industry and the jobs associated with energy production must be encouraged and protected with any closure of Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.
CREATION OF THE MICHIGAN PIPELINE AUTHORITY. Patterned after the Mackinac Bridge Authority, a Pipeline authority, appointed by Governor Snyder and confirmed by the Michigan Senate, should be established to provide recommendations to the Federal Pipeline Safety Authority on behalf of Michigan residents. The Pipeline Authority would work towards the decommissioning of Line 5 and issues relating to propane and energy production in Michigan.
On June 21, 2017 the State of Michigan terminated the contract with Det Norske Veritas, Inc. (DNV GL), the firm preparing a risk analysis report on the Line 5 pipeline below the Straits of Mackinac. The contract was terminated prior to the draft report being delivered to the state’s project team.
Within the past month, the state’s project team became aware that an employee who had worked on the risk analysis at DNV GL subsequently worked on another project for Enbridge Energy Co., Inc., which owns the Line 5 pipeline, while the risk analysis was being completed. This is a violation of conflict of interest prohibitions contained in the contract.
Line 5 is a 645-mile pipeline built in 1953 and runs from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Canada. The line transports about 540,000 barrels of light crude oil and natural gas liquids per day.