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The entire engineering of how the Line 5 pipeline is anchored to the Great Lakes bottomlands has changed - WITH NO STATE REVIEW or approval.
Enbridge is asking the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to approve the company’s application to add 22 new screw anchors to prop up Line 5. Enbridge is trying to get around a full legally-required review of the rest of the underwater portion of the pipeline and is ignoring the effect that these anchor supports will have on the integrity of the pipeline moving forward.
The original pipeline design did not specify the use of screw anchors. In fact, this type of anchor is responsible for a majority of the coating damage that Enbridge has known about since at least 2014, but the public just found out about in October 2017.
Anchors are not a repair - they're new infrastructure
According to state law, new materials used to support the pipeline should trigger a full integrity review of the entire underwater segment of Line 5. The DEQ has failed to follow the law, and in doing so, they have failed to hold Enbridge responsible - even with the Great Lakes ecosystem and 720 miles of shoreline at risk.
Sign the Petition
Director Grether, Division and Unit Chief Fisher, and the Gaylord Office Unit Supervisor Haas, and Great Lakes Submerged Land Specialist Graft:
We urge you to deny Enbridge’s pending Line 5 anchor permit application to install 22 new screw anchors onto the bottomlands of Lake Michigan, and instead, require Enbridge to file a new conveyance application for the entire underwater Line 5 pipelines to occupy our public trust waters and bottomlands of the Great Lakes. This is what the law requires.
Enbridge’s Screw Anchors Constitute a New Design, Not a Repair. Since 2002, Enbridge has installed 128 permanent screw anchors along Line 5 fastened into the lakebed, contending that this new design is mere repair and maintenance. This new engineering design, however, has transformed the entire underwater pipeline infrastructure by elevating it off the lakebed floor.
The original 1953 engineering design placed Line 5 pipelines in a trench on the bottomlands with no maximum support longer than 75 feet to prevent metal fatigue and rupture. This engineering design was a key provision of the 1953 legal Easement between Enbridge and the State of Michigan. But Enbridge routinely violated the 75-foot maximum span requirement and did not properly design its dual pipelines to withstand the swift currents in the Straits of Mackinac.
For nearly the first 50 years of Line 5 occupying the public trust waters of Lake Michigan, Enbridge used sandbags to provide support. Enbridge’s “solution” – to elevate the pipeline off the lakebed floor with screw anchors – is not a mere repair, but rather a completely new design that was never authorized and has never been evaluated under the 1955 public trust law of the Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act (“GLSLA”).
New Evidence Reveals that Enbridge Knew Screw Anchors Were Damaging Line 5 Pipeline Coating Since 2014. In October 2017 – four months after Enbridge submitted the original DEQ permit — the public learned that Enbridge had acted in bad faith and had known about damage to Line 5’s protective coating in the Straits of Mackinac as early as 2014 but did not disclose this critical information to state or federal officials until late in the summer of 2017. This material information could have altered previous state and federal authorizations in 2016 and 2017 that allowed additional screw anchors to be installed into the lakebed.
Material Change Triggers Full Review of Entire Underwater Pipeline Infrastructure. Given Line 5’s new design with permanent structures and material changes, the DEQ must direct Enbridge to go back to the drawing board and submit a new conveyance application under the law. Nothing less than this will protect the Great Lakes from a catastrophic oil spill.