Nearly 400 Michigan waterways at risk from Canadian oil pipeline, with 7 designated “geohazards” to pipeline safety.
Major Michigan lakes, rivers, streams and other waterways—including the storied AuSable, Sturgeon, Manistique and Rapid rivers—are among nearly 400 Michigan waterways potentially threatened by Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline, according to reports from Enbridge and the state released today. The waters at risk include seven designated by Enbridge as “geohazards” that could inflict damage on the Canadian transport giant’s aging pipeline.
The vast number of Michigan waters crossed by a pipeline that already recorded at least 29 oil spills is higher than previously reported. Four of the seven rivers whose flow and proximity to Line 5 pose a particular hazard to the pipeline are in the Upper Peninsula along US 2 and near the Lake Michigan shoreline.
“These reports from Enbridge provide a stack of evidence supporting the public’s call for Gov. Snyder and Attorney General Schuette to shut down Line 5 right now before there is a catastrophic oil spill in the Mackinac Straits,” said For Love of Water (FLOW) Executive Director Liz Kirkwood, an environmental attorney and a co-leader of the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign. “Enbridge acknowledges that Line 5 lacks the latest safety technology, remains at risk of more anchor strikes, and threatens not only the Mackinac Straits but also 400 Great Lakes tributaries, wetlands, and other aquatic resources along its 554-mile-long route in Michigan.
“The governor and attorney general need to stop promoting their long-term dream of a Canadian oil pipeline tunnel under the Straits and confront this danger to the Great Lakes, our drinking water, and our jobs tied to the Pure Michigan economy.”
“Instead of more studies and more reports telling us just how risky Line 5 is, we need a governor and attorney general who will begin the process of eliminating the risk by decommissioning Line 5.” - Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Chair
In its reports, Enbridge proposes a number of remedies to reduce impacts of a Line 5 spill on Michigan’s waters, including some that already have a poor track record in Michigan. In 2010, Enbridge was responsible for spilling more than 1 million gallons of oil along the Kalamazoo River and has misled the public and state officials by failing to report missing anchor supports in the Straits of Mackinac and numerous pipeline coating failures in the Straits.
“Enbridge claims their world-class pipeline safety measures will keep us safe but the reality is we have seen time and again failure after failure,” said Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Chair and a co-leader of the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign. “Instead of more studies and more reports telling us just how risky Line 5 is, we need a governor and attorney general who will begin the process of eliminating the risk by decommissioning Line 5.”
Said FLOW's Kirkwood: "Fundamentally, the question remains: Why didn’t the State of Michigan required a comprehensive engineering study evaluating the anchor hooking risks as well as the currents, gravitational and thermal stresses of the new elevated pipeline with its 128 screw anchors as compared to the original lakebed support design?”
The three reports released today but dated June 30 can be found at the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force website.