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Enbridge Reaches Deal to Replace Straits of Mackinac Pipelines

Enbridge has agreed to replace twin pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Enbridge has agreed to replace twin pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. |  Photo: WDIO-TV

Associated Press
Created: October 03, 2018 03:51 PM

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.

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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 straits would be decommissioned. They are part of Enbridge's Line 5, which carries about 23 million gallons 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.

Gov. Rick Snyder says the agreement is "a common-sense solution" to a problem that's been debated for years.  Snyder says the project would eliminate "nearly every risk" of an oil leak in the Straits of Mackinac.

He says the tunnel used for the pipelines 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.

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Associated Press

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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