New agreement with State of Michigan bolsters Great Lakes protective measures

Enbridge, State will explore Line 5 tunnel option beneath Straits of Mackinac

It’s protective, it's comprehensive, and it’s spurred by safety.

Today, Enbridge entered into a second agreement with the State of Michigan on the future of our Line 5 light oil and natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline.

We’ve committed to a series of measures to protect the Straits of Mackinac and the Great Lakes—and that list includes exploring, along with the State, a new pipeline housed in a tunnel deep beneath the Straits.

“Line 5 has operated safely and reliably for more than six decades at the Straits, and this agreement makes a safe pipeline even safer,” says Brad Shamla, Enbridge’s Vice President of U.S. Liquids Pipelines operations.

This suite of measures to protect the Great Lakes also includes:

  • Increasing coordination between the State and Enbridge;
  • Enhancing safety on Line 5 water crossings other than the Straits;
  • Providing financial assurances; and
  • Further commitments based on the November 2017 agreement between Enbridge and the State, including:
    • Replacement of the Line 5 St. Clair River crossing;
    • Discontinuing Line 5 operations in the Straits during sustained adverse weather conditions;
    • Use of technologies to enhance leak detection and condition of coating; and
    • Implementation of measures to mitigate potential vessel anchor strikes.

The first four measures above represent further commitments, based on a November 2017 agreement between Enbridge and the State.

Placing a pipeline in a larger tunnel, bored deep beneath the lakebed, would reduce the likelihood of a release of oil into the Straits to virtually zero and eliminate the potential for an anchor strike.

Line 5 delivers 65 percent of propane used to heat homes in the Upper Peninsula, and meets 55 percent of Michigan’s overall propane needs. Michigan consumed 489 million gallons of propane in 2016, according to the American Petroleum Institute. More than 315,000 families in Michigan rely on propane to heat their homes—more than any other state.

“Line 5 is an important part of Michigan’s energy infrastructure,” says Mr. Shamla. “We are committed to mitigating potential risks—while ensuring a reliable and affordable energy supply to both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.”