TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials said Wednesday that Enbridge Energy Partners had violated a legal requirement by having too much unsupported space along its twin oil pipelines running beneath the environmentally sensitive waterway that links Lakes Michigan and Huron.
Enbridge found similar problems two years ago with the pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac and said it had taken steps to ensure they would not happen again, but recent findings "have refuted that prediction," state Attorney General Bill Schuette and other officials said in a letter to the Canadian company.
The pipes are a small section of Enbridge's 645-mile-long Line 5, through which 23 million gallons of crude oil and liquid natural gas move daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario. Environmental groups have pushed to shut down the underwater pipes, saying a rupture could do catastrophic damage to the Great Lakes. The company insists the pipes have never leaked and are closely monitored.
"The violation notice issued today by state leaders should serve as a wake-up call," said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. "Due to the risk the Line 5 pipeline poses to our Great Lakes, we must stop oil from flowing along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac as quickly as is feasible."