DEQ Hosts Public Hearing to Discuss Changes to Line 5

Wednesday night, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality hosted a packed public hearing to discuss the Line 5 pipeline.

They’re considering a request from Enbridge to add 48 anchor supports to the pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. This comes just three months after a tugboat anchor dented the side of the pipeline.

This event renewed calls from environmental critics to shut it down. The controversial Line 5 carries millions of gallons of crude oil and natural gas liquids from Wisconsin to Canada.

Critics of the pipeline say it poses an unacceptable risk to the environment.

“Any mistake that happens, that lines breaks, and that gets in that fresh water, then nobody can drink it for thousands of years,” said Robert Brown, from Cheboygan. “I think they should eliminate the whole thing. Don’t do anchors or anything, eliminate the line itself.”

Enbridge says they’ve been installing anchor supports for more than 15 years, and they’re perfectly safe.

Wednesday night, Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy issued the following statement:

“Enbridge’s ongoing work to inspect, maintain and modernize our pipeline systems further ensures that Line 5 remains operating safely and reliably – helping to protect the environment while continuing to safely deliver energy to Michigan and the Great Lakes region. A key part of that work is the use of support anchors in the Straits of Mackinac.”

Fred Paquin says that he an oil spill in the Great Lakes would devastate him, but he trusts Enbridge and isn’t worried about any worst-case scenarios.

“Their number one factor is safety,” said Paquin, who attended the public hearing. “If you look at their procedures policies, I don’t see how they could do any more.”

The DEQ already issued a permit for 22 anchor supports earlier this year. They’ll consider adding another 48 after reviewing Wednesday night’s comments.

“We certainly understand people’s passion about the Straits of Mackinac,” said DEQ communication director Scott Dean. “Any oil on the Straits is unacceptable. DEQ’s mission is to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

The DEQ will accept public comments until July 22.

Comments can be submitted online. Visit this link.

You can also mail the DEQ your thoughts at this address:

Permits Section, Water Resources Division

DEQ box 30458

Lansing, Michigan 48909.