On April 17, 2020, Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership (Enbridge) filed an application with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC or Commission) pursuant to Public Act 16 of 1929, MCL 483.1 et seq, also referred to as Act 16, requesting authority to replace and relocate the segment of Line 5 crossing the Straits of Mackinac into a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac.
The application seeks approval for Enbridge's project known as the Straits Line 5 Replacement Segment Project, which will replace the current crossing - consisting of two, 20” inch diameter pipes referred to as the Dual Pipelines – with a single, 30-inch diameter pipe (the replacement pipe segment) located within a concrete-lined tunnel below the lakebed of the Straits. This application does not request approval of the tunnel itself, which is the subject of separate applications addressed by other state and federal agencies. The application states that Enbridge has acquired the necessary property rights for installation, operation, and maintenance of the replacement pipe segment.
For an overview of the Act 16 process, click here.
In conjunction with its application seeking authority for Act 16 approval, Enbridge requested that the Commission issue a declaratory ruling pursuant to Section 63 of the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969 (being MCL 24.263), and Rule 448, (being R 792.10448) or other finding, that Enbridge already has obtained the authority it needs from the Commission for the project for the reasons set forth in the application. The Commission found that the Line 5 Project differs significantly than what was approved in the 1953 orders, therefore Enbridge’s request for declaratory relief was denied and its Act 16 application will be considered by the MPSC through a formal contested case hearing process.
For an overview of the declaratory ruling request, click here.
Siting authority for crude oil and petroleum product pipeline siting is granted to the MPSC pursuant to Act 16. Approval under Act 16 allows the applicant to construct the pipeline as specified in the Commission order and subject to any other governmental permits that are required.
August 6, 2020 – Notice of Public Hearing – August 24, 2020
July 1, 2020 – Notice of Hearing – August 12, 2020
May 18, 2021 – Staff and Intervenor Testimony Due
July 13, 2021 – Rebuttal Testimony Due (All Parties)
September 24, 2021 – Initial Briefs Due
October 5, 2021 – Reply Briefs Due
The MPSC provides many opportunities for the public to participate in cases. Customers, business owners, non-profit organizations, and others may share their views by becoming an intervenor, attending and speaking at a Commission meeting or public hearing, providing written comments, or writing a letter to the Commission. For an overview of the Act 16 process and how to participate, click here. You can also monitor the case using the instructions below to receive updates about notices, public hearings, and opportunities to comment.
MPSC Application Overview – In high-profile cases, MPSC Staff will summarize the application, the MPSC’s process and standards of review, and explain opportunities for interested persons to participate. This presentation may be recorded and available on the MPSC’s website.
Becoming an Intervener – Interested persons wanting to become an official party to the case must file a Petition to Intervene with supporting legal justification through the MPSC’s E-dockets system (https://mipsc.force.com/s/) by the date provided in the Notice of Hearing and follow the other guidelines described in the notice. The deadline for intervention in Case No. U-20763 was August 5th.
Written comments – Interested persons may submit comments to the Commission regarding your position on this case without being an official party or intervenor. Comments may be submitted at any point during the proceeding and will be filed in the docket for Case No. U-20763 and subject to review by the public and the Commission. Comments can be submitted via email to email@example.com or by mail to: Michigan Public Service Commission, 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing, MI 48917. Please be sure to include Case No. U-20763 in your comments.
Commission Meetings – The Commission holds one to two meetings a month, which are held at the MPSC office located at 7109 W. Saginaw Hwy, Lansing, Michigan (or remotely due to COVID-19 precautions; please check website for updates). Any person present at a Commission meeting may address the Commission during the time reserved on the agenda for public comments.
Public Hearings – The MPSC may schedule additional public hearings dedicated to receiving public comment. These hearings allow interested people to share their comments on a pending case before the Commission and are typically held near the project’s location or in areas most impacted. For Case No. U-20763, the Commission has scheduled the following public hearing:
August 24, 2020 (Teleconference Only) – 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM EST | Event Details
Case Monitoring – All non-confidential documents filed in this case are available to the public. You can access case information through the docket for Case No. U-20763. If you'd like to receive notifications when new filings are made, click on the orange "Notify Me of New Approved Filings" box within the docket. Updates on significant developments such as the scheduling of public hearings and the issuance of Commission notices or orders will also be provided through the Line 5 email distribution list. Sign up below.