First meeting of the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority scheduled for Wednesday in St. Ignace

Contact: Ed Golder, 517-284-5815
Agency: Natural Resources

Dec. 13, 2018

The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority will hold its inaugural meeting 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the Little Bear Arena, 275 Marquette St., St. Ignace. The three-member authority is charged with overseeing construction and operation of a proposed multi-use utility tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The tunnel will house a replacement segment for the dual Line 5 petroleum pipeline in the Straits, and will be built to accommodate other utilities.

Public Act 359 directs the MSCA to enter into an agreement with Enbridge Energy Corporation – the company that owns and operates Line 5 – for construction of the utility tunnel, provided the agreement meets certain conditions. Under the proposed agreement, Enbridge would pay for all design, construction, operation and maintenance costs for the tunnel. The law establishes a separate Straits Protection Fund to pay for the work of the MSCA, including independent experts to ensure proper construction and operation of the tunnel.

Once the tunnel is complete, the existing Line 5 pipeline on the bottom of the Straits would be shut down and ownership of the tunnel would transfer to the MSCA. The MSCA would provide independent oversight throughout the tunnel’s life. The MSCA will be subject to the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

A meeting agenda will be posted soon on the mipetroleumpipelines.com website. The meeting will include opportunity for public comment. Additional public comment currently is being accepted by phone or email regarding draft documents related to the proposed tunnel. Those documents also can be found at mipetroleumpipelines.com.

Comments can left by phone at 833-367-6713 or by email to DNR-StraitsTunnelComment@michigan.gov.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to michigan.gov/dnr.