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Press conference brings up Line 5 concerns

Local environmental groups make a case for the pipeline to be shut down.
A Enbridge company diver inspecting the Line 5 tunnel under the Straits. (UPEC Courtesy Photo)
A Enbridge company diver inspecting the Line 5 tunnel under the Straits. (UPEC Courtesy Photo)(WLUC)
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 8:04 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON Mich. (WLUC) -

The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) held a press conference the morning of July 9 expressing their concerns over the Enbridge Line 5. Because of a recent string of damages to the pipeline, the Coalition is worried about the harm to the surrounding area if the pipe were to burst. The age of the pipeline is of particular concern.

“Here we have a 67-year-old pipeline and we’re worried about it as we get greater and greater risks,” explained Horst Schmid, the president of UPEC. “For example, back in... 2010 the Kalamazoo river had a spill and it took 10 years to clean up.”

This isn’t the first time that Enbridge or this pipeline has come under scrutiny. Just last month, Governor Whitmer requested a shut down of the pipeline after Enbrige reported damage to it on June 5th. Enbridge communication strategist Ryan Duffy released a statement regarding the conference. He said that the straits tunnel project is the best way to ensure the pipeline remains safe to operate, but the coalition voiced concern.

“We’re against having the tunnel because it will create new problems during construction,” said Schmid. “They’ll have to use a high volume of water during construction and they’ll be going down through the sediments and that will create a movement of those sediments most likely toward the east or the Huron side.”

A court hearing was held on June 30th, with the debate revolving around state jurisdiction to shut down the pipeline. The judge’s ruling, according to a statement made by the coalition, will be ready in the next week.

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