The Latest: Advocacy groups clash over oil pipeline deal
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on an agreement to replace oil pipelines in a crucial Great Lakes channel (all times local):
Environmental groups are pledging to fight a plan to replace twin oil pipelines in the waterway that links Lakes Huron and Michigan, while business interests are praising it.
The deal announced Wednesday by the state of Michigan and Enbridge would shut down the Line 5 pipes in the Straits of Mackinac and put a new tunnel beneath the lake bed.
Mike Shriberg of the National Wildlife Federation says the agreement would expose the Great Lakes to potential oil spills for many years.
David Holtz of Oil and Water Don’t Mix says state officials ignored their own studies showing better energy alternatives for Michigan than moving oil through the straits.
Michigan Chamber of Commerce President Rich Studley says the “practical, problem-solving agreement” meets needs for safe water and modern energy infrastructure.
Gov. Rick Snyder says an agreement between the state of Michigan and Enbridge to replace twin oil pipelines in a crucial Great Lakes channel is “a common-sense solution” to a problem that’s been debated for years.
Snyder said Wednesday that shutting down the existing Line 5 pipes and building a new pipeline in a tunnel beneath the lake bed would eliminate “nearly every risk” of an oil leak in the Straits of Mackinac.
He says the tunnel also would provide space for utility cables, further protecting the lakes while ensuring a steady supply of energy and promoting economic growth.
U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, a fellow Republican whose district includes the straits area, also praised the plan.
Michigan officials and Enbridge have reached a deal on replacing 65-year-old twin oil pipelines that critics describe as a serious threat to the Great Lakes.
Under a plan announced Wednesday, a new pipeline would be constructed in bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lakes Huron and Michigan.
Afterward, the existing lines on the bottom of the more than 4-mile-wide (6.4-mile-wide) straits would be decommissioned. They are part of Enbridge’s Line 5, which carries about 23 million gallons (87 million liters) of crude oil and natural gas liquids daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.
The tunnel project could take seven to 10 years to complete and cost up to $500 million, which Enbridge would pay.
Environmentalists have pushed to shut down Line 5, saying a leak would be ruinous to the lakes.
Officials tell The Associated Press that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration and Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge have reached a deal on replacing 65-year-old twin pipelines in a channel linking two of the Great Lakes.
An announcement was scheduled for Wednesday.
Officials tell the AP the agreement calls for shutting down the Line 5 pipes in the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lakes Huron and Michigan. A new pipeline would run through a tunnel dug into bedrock below the lake bed.
The project could take seven to 10 years to complete and cost up to $500 million, which Enbridge would pay.
Supporters say the deal protects the lakes and ensures reliable energy. But it’s sure to draw criticism from groups that oppose any oil shipments in the straits area.