State hires 2 pipeline experts as part of Enbridge study team


Rick Snyder, Governor
Valerie Brader, Executive Director

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Dec. 5, 2017


Engineers from Michigan, Colorado will help to assess possible upgrades
to Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, at other water crossings

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE), today announced the hiring of two topic specialists who will monitor the work of Enbridge Energy Partners LLP as it fulfills the requirements of its Line 5 action agreement with the State.

Daniel Cooper and Michael A. Mooney will monitor Enbridge’s actions, review and verify the company’s data, and participate fully in each of the evaluations required under the agreement. They will work part-time for the state, where their sole duties will be participating in these evaluations.

Both experts have years of experience in pipelines and underground construction, but have never worked for Enbridge and have committed they will not do so while working for the State.

Mooney is the Grewcock distinguished chair professor of underground construction and tunneling at Colorado School of Mines. He is the founding director of the university’s Center for Underground Construction and Tunneling, and is a licensed professional engineer.

Cooper is president of HT Engineering, Inc. of Grand Rapids and is a licensed professional engineer in Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio. He has worked since 1981 in the design and management of natural gas and liquid petroleum production, processing, transportation, and distribution projects.

“Both of these men are the ideal engineers for the tasks at hand,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy. “In Dan Cooper, we have a Michigander who knows exactly what’s at stake for his state’s environment. Mike Mooney is one of the foremost experts on tunnels who brings expansive expertise to the position, both in research and in practical applications internationally.” 

Among the stipulations in the Nov. 27 agreement between the state and Enbridge is conducting a feasibility study of placing in a tunnel a new pipeline or the existing dual pipelines in the Straits, assessing the installation of underwater technologies to better monitor the pipeline, studying ways to mitigate the risk of a vessel anchor damaging the Straits pipeline, and implementing measures to minimize the likelihood of a spill at the approximately 245 bodies of water that Line 5 crosses throughout Michigan.

Enbridge must report its findings, which will be independently reviewed and verified at every stage by Cooper and Mooney, to the State of Michigan by June 30, 2018. The State will decide on further action regarding Line 5 on or before Aug. 15, 2018, under the agreement.

Cooper has consulting experience in areas including pipeline integrity management, construction management, and operations and maintenance support. His technical expertise includes natural gas and liquid products pipelines, liquid products pumping stations, fluid measurement and flow control, pipeline safety and risk analysis, and pipeline failure investigation.

Cooper will work with Enbridge and other state staff to review the existing Line 5 system design and configurations near environmentally sensitive areas. He will work to identify and recommend additional risk mitigation strategies that could be implemented to decrease the likelihood and consequences of a spill.

Mooney has performed research and consulting on analysis, design, construction and monitoring of tunnels, shafts and excavations. He serves on the executive committee of the Underground Construction Association and was the Scientific Committee Chair for the 2016 World Tunneling Congress held in San Francisco. He led development of a real-time technique to improve foundation construction at the seabed floor in Venice and developed a real-time boulder detection system for tunnel boring machines that is being used in Seattle.

Mooney will participate in the study looking at replacing Line 5 underneath the Straits. With his experience in underground construction and tunneling, he will be able to verify the technical assumptions made and help guide the study as it progresses.

The full agreement between the State and Enbridge can be found at the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board website.

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