Enbridge provides update on tunnel project

According to Enbridge Energies, it’s currently in the middle of its permitting phase.
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 5:42 PM EST
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STRAITS OF MACKINAC, Mich. (WLUC) - The proposed Line 5 project continues to move forward.

According to Enbridge, the project is currently in the middle of its permitting phase.

“We do have permits from the state, from EGLE and we need permits from the Michigan Public Service Commission and then also U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Those will likely take a little bit longer to get,” said Enbridge Spokesperson Ryan Duffy.

Also known as the Great Lakes Tunnel Project, it would place a concrete tunnel below the lakebed in the Straits of Mackinac. That tunnel would house a replacement for the existing Line 5 pipeline, which delivers light crude oil to the U.P. to be transformed into other energies.

“More than 65% of all the propane used in the U.P. comes from the products moved in line 5. So, a lot of people in the U.P. heat their home and cook their food with propane, and Line 5 is key to that.” Duffy said.

Enbridge said the project will advance the pipeline’s safety.

“It would eliminate the chance of an anchor strike issue with the pipelines, and it reduces the chance to just about zero to having anything leaking out into the water,” Duffy said.

Meanwhile, the environmental advocacy group Clean Water Action said a tunnel is not a safe solution.

“The geology in the Straits of Mackinac is notoriously complex and very difficult to drill through and without doing the proper research and without being permitted, it’s really not safe for them to move forward. They would be drilling under a functioning crude oil pipeline which could cause a massive oil spill in the great lakes,” said Clean Water Action Legislative and Policy Director Sean Mcbrearty.

Mcbrearty said along with seeking other crude oil alternatives, he would also like to see the federal government step in.

“We need President Biden to step in and revoke the presidential permit and have an orderly shutdown process for Line 5. An orderly process over the course of several months would ensure everyone’s energy needs are met,” Mcbrearty said.

Duffy said the timeline for the project is currently unknown as it is based on permit approvals.