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Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

The principal laws EGLE considers when evaluating pipeline projects that impact water resources fall under the Michigan Environmental Protection Act (MEPA) and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994, PA 451 (NREPA). The are several parts of the acts that could apply to the Enbridge tunnel project:

  • Part 303 Wetland Protection: This requires a permit to fill, dredge, or remove soil from a wetland, construct, operate, or maintain a use in a wetland, or drain surface water from a wetland.
  • Part 325 Great Lakes Submerged Lands: This regulates construction activities along the Great Lakes shoreline and over the Great Lakes bottomlands, including coastal marshes.
  • Part 31 Water Resources Protection: This addresses wastewater discharge and water pollution control programs.
  • Part 327 Water Use Program: This is responsible for registering large quantity withdrawals, collecting annual use data, making determinations on the potential impacts to resources as a result of proposed withdrawals, and the processing of withdrawal permits.

Tunnel construction and operations will, in some cases, have different environmental impacts on the north and south shores of the Straits of Mackinac and some permits may be specific to those shorelines while other permits will apply to the entire project. EGLE anticipates reviewing the following applications:

  • Part 303 Wetland Protection
  • Part 31 Construction and Industrial National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for stormwater and hydrostatic pressure test
  • Part 325 Great Lakes Submerged Lands
  • Part 327 Water Use Program or registration through the Michigan Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool (WWAT)
  • An air permit may also be required for the project.
  • Soil erosion permits may also be needed. These are evaluated at a local level before EGLE reviews them.