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State Responds to Easement Violation Letter

Officials from the State of Michigan replied to the letter sent by 22 environmental and tribal groups on April 13, 2016. It is reposted here for the record.

View/Download the letter here


Dr. Phil Bellfy, et al.
c/o For Love of Water
153 1⁄2 East Front Street
Suite 203C
Traverse City, MI 49684

Re: Enbridge Line 5 Pipelines at the Straits of Mackinac

Dear Dr. Bellfy and Co-Signers:

            Thank you for your letter dated April 13, 2016 regarding the Enbridge Line 5 pipelines at the Straits of Mackinac. That letter and the accompanying memorandum suggest that the State of Michigan has legal and factual cause to terminate the 1953 Easement that authorized the construction and operation of the Straits Pipelines.

            We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the public trust resources of the Great Lakes—the crown jewels of Michigan’s environment and economy— from potential sources of pollution, including the Enbridge Straits Pipelines. Accordingly, the State has taken, and is continuing to take actions to address that potential threat. This includes:

  • Requesting detailed information from Enbridge about the construction, operation, and condition of the Straits Pipelines and its compliance with the terms of the 1953 Easement.

  • Convening the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force, which reviewed that and a wide variety of other information, and issued its Report in July 2015.

  • Implementing each of the Task Force Report’s recommendations concerning the Straits Pipelines, including:

o Prohibiting the transportation of heavy crude oil through the Straits Pipelines.

o Developing plans for an independent risk analysis for the Straits Pipelines.

o Developing plans for an independent alternatives analysis for the Straits Pipelines.

o Obtaining additional detailed information from Enbridge regarding the Straits Pipelines.

           Our offices, in conjunction with the Michigan Agency for Energy, and in consultation with the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board established by Governor Snyder, are currently moving forward with the process of reviewing proposals from potential contractors to conduct the independent risk and alternatives analyses.

           We understand your strong interest and concern about this issue, and appreciate the effort involved in assembling the memorandum enclosed with your letter. As part of our ongoing focus on this issue, each of us and our respective staffs will carefully consider all available information regarding the Straits Pipelines, including the memorandum, to determine what other actions may be warranted.

           Thank you again for your interest in this important matter.



Bill Schuette                                   Keith Creagh                                        William Moritz
Attorney General                           Director                                                  Director
Department of                                Department of                                    Department of
Attorney General                           Environmental Quality                    Natural Resources


cc:    Valerie Brader, Executive Director, Michigan Agency for Energy
Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board Members

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