Michigan Gov. Whitmer demands answers from Enbridge on pipeline damage

A pipeline located under the Straits of Mackinac was found damaged Thursday

FILE - In this June 8, 2017, file photo, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., as Enbridge prepares to test the east and west sides of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, Mich. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, June 11, 2020, that legislators did not violate the state constitution by allowing construction of an oil pipeline tunnel beneath a channel linking two of the Great Lakes. A three-judge panel affirmed a ruling last November by the Michigan Court of Claims, which upheld a law authorizing a deal between former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian pipeline company Enbridge. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP, File)
FILE - In this June 8, 2017, file photo, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., as Enbridge prepares to test the east and west sides of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, Mich. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, June 11, 2020, that legislators did not violate the state constitution by allowing construction of an oil pipeline tunnel beneath a channel linking two of the Great Lakes. A three-judge panel affirmed a ruling last November by the Michigan Court of Claims, which upheld a law authorizing a deal between former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian pipeline company Enbridge. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP, File)

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer demanded Friday that Enbridge Energy provide proof that the damage to one of its dual oil pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac will not pose a threat to the area.

The Alberta, Canada-based company closed its Line 5 pipeline under the straits on Thursday after discovering that the anchor support had shifted from its original position, company spokesman Ryan Duffy said Friday in a statement.

Whitmer said the damage and how it occurred calls into question the viability of the pipeline.

“That’s why I am requesting Enbridge turn over to the State of Michigan all relevant information about this most recent damage and provide affirmative evidence that establishes the integrity of the pipeline,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Duffy clarified that the problem does not affect the pipeline, which he said was shut down as a precaution.

“We were transparent in notifying the State of Michigan and our federal regulator (Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) on Thursday, the same day we discovered the damage to the screw anchor support assembly,” Duffy said. “We will be providing the information the Governor has requested.”

According to Whitmer, the damaged anchor support lies approximately 150 feet (46 meters) from a section of the pipeline where damage to the pipeline coating was discovered on or around May 26. She said the company is gathering more information through divers, the use of a remotely operated vehicle and other means.

“As Governor of the Great Lakes State I carry an immense burden to protect this priceless treasure that defines the contours of our state and our way of life,” Whitmer wrote in her letter to Enbridge CEO Al Monaco. “I anticipate and expect your full cooperation.”


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