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Circle of Blue: Release of Pipeline Safety Study Draws Near

The Great Lakes Petroleum Pipeline Task Force, a high-level state panel, is poised to release a long-awaited report on the safety of Line 5, a 62-year-old pipeline that transports up to 540,000 barrels of oil a day across a deep, 8-kilometer-wide (5-mile-wide) strait at the top of Lake Michigan.

Miranda Cawley of Circle of Blue writesMackinacBridge_cJGanter_G3_5549-590x393.jpeg

The report from the year-long task force, convened by the Michigan attorney general and the director of the state Department of Environmental Quality, is expected to reveal new facts about the oil pipeline’s design, operations, and maintenance, and make recommendations on state responsibility and oversight. Other members of the task force are the Michigan Public Service Commission, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division of the Michigan State Police.

The release of the panel’s report will add new depth to an escalating public debate over the risks and benefits of operating an aging oil pipeline in a pristine freshwater environment at the center of the Great Lakes.

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