In the wake of disclosure of pipeline damage that forced Enbridge to shut down dangerous Line 5, citizens groups are calling on Gov. Whitmer to protect the Great Lakes by blocking Enbridge from transporting oil and other dangerous hazardous liquids through the Great Lakes.
Whitmer late this afternoon disclosed that damage to the pipeline at the bottom of the Straits caused Enbridge to shut down pipeline operations. Details on how and when the pipeline was damaged were not disclosed in a press release from the governor, who requested more information from the Canadian company who is asking Michigan to keep Line 5 operating indefinitely.
Line 5 Anchor Entangled with Fishing Gear from a 2012 Inspection Video
“A 67-year-old pipeline has no business operating in the Great Lakes. In late May more coating damage to Line 5 was discovered, today we find out that the pipeline has been damaged again and this time it was bad enough for Enbridge to shut down the pipeline, which they didn’t even bother to do in 2018 when an anchor struck Line 5. We don’t even know what Enbridge knew and when in relation to the new damage. Enough is enough,” said Sean McBreaty, Oil and Water Don’t Mix coalition coordinator. “No talking points from Enbridge about the safety of Line 5 can overcome the facts. The fact is that Line 5 is a dangerous threat to the Great Lakes, which provides drinking water to 40 million Americans and Canadians. Gov. Whitmer needs to take strong action to eliminate this threat.”
"No talking points from Enbridge about the safety of Line 5 can overcome the facts. Gov. Whitmer needs to take strong action to eliminate this threat.” - Sean McBrearty, Oil & Water Don't Mix Coordinator
News that damage to the pipeline forced the shutdown of Line 5 comes the same day as public disclosures that Enbridge was forced to pay $6.7 million in friends for violating a federal court order on pipeline safety. That put a spotlight on Enbridge’s lengthy track record, which includes:
- Enbridge’s negligence caused the largest oil pipeline rupture in Michigan history into the Kalamazoo River watershed near Marshall 10 years ago this July but they were allowed to construct an even larger pipeline to replace the old Line 6B that ruptured.
- Enbridge’s prior track record on fines in Michigan includes $177 million in civil penalties, $1.3 billion in damages, and more than 2.3 million gallons of spilled oil.
- Just over two years ago, Enbridge agreed to pay a $1.8 million fine for failing to thoroughly inspect its pipelines for weaknesses as required under a 2016 agreement that covers their dangerous Line 5.
- Enbridge lied about Line 5 safety when it knew that since 2003 numerous bottom support anchors were missing and failed to disclose it until 2017, nine months after a report documented that pipeline spans of up to 286 feet had no anchor support. Enbridge violated its easement agreement with the state but is now suing to force the state to accept additional agreements that would keep Line 5 operating.
- In 2017 Enbridge claimed that missing protective coatings along the Straits pipeline were a mere “hypothetical” possibility, while at the same time a video in their possession showed areas of missing coatings and the company had known of bare spots since 2014.
- Enbridge’s claims about Line 5 pipeline safety were put to the test when an anchor was deployed in the Straits of Mackinac in April 2018, denting and gouging Line 5. Enbridge’s technology failed that test when, despite the damage to Line 5, no warnings were triggered. Three weeks passed before underwater vehicles contracted by Enbridge could safely navigate the turbulent Straits to put eyes on the damage.