Straits of Mackinac

Straits of Mackinac
Gregory Varnum via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

Michigan’s energy chief says damage to the protective coating on an oil and gas pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac was worse than initially reported.

Valerie Brater directs the Michigan Agency for Energy. She says Enbridge Energy initially reported small sections of Line Five’s protective coating were accidentally worn off down to the metal while underwater safety anchors were being installed.

Brater says the places where metal is showing are much larger than Enbridge said they were, and she says company was too slow to repair the damage.

Straits of Mackinac
Gregory Varnum via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

Michigan environmental groups are frustrated with Ontario’s support for keeping an oil-and-gas pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The province’s Ministry of Energy sent Michigan a letter earlier this week. The ministry stressed the importance of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline to Ontario.

Environmental groups say this flies in the face of their efforts to shut down the pipeline. Line 5 carries crude oil and liquid natural gas under the Straits of Mackinac. Activists say it’s a massive environmental risk.

Mackinac Bridge
Glabb via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / wikimedia.org

State officials are taking public comments on a plan by Enbridge Energy Partners to install additional supports for its twin oil pipelines in the waterway where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says a 20-day comment period began Monday for an Enbridge application for a permit to place the steel supports beneath sections of the Straits of Mackinac pipelines.

An easement granted in the 1950s requires that the pipelines have some type of support no more than 75 feet apart.

Mackinac Bridge
Glabb via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / wikimedia.org

The state of Michigan has tapped two companies to analyze the financial risk of an oil pipeline rupture in the Straits of Mackinac and evaluate any alternatives to the pipeline.

Enbridge Energy, based in Calgary, Alberta, has agreed to pay $3.5 million but will not oversee the studies.

Enbridge owns the twin oil pipelines in the area where lakes Huron and Michigan converge.

Det Norske Veritas will determine how much money would be needed to clean up an oil spill.

Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems will study alternatives to Line 5.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A newly released study says hundreds of miles of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron shoreline are at risk of contamination if oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac rupture.

The report by the University of Michigan Water Center is based on 840 computer simulations of possible spills from twin lines that run across the floor of the straits linking Michigan's two peninsulas.

They are owned by the Canadian company Enbridge, which says they've never leaked and remain in good shape. Environmentalists are pushing to have them removed.

Straits of Mackinac
Gregory Varnum via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

An environmental group is threatening to sue the federal government over a Great Lakes oil pipeline.

The National Wildlife Federation notified the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on Monday.

The group is targeting Enbridge Energy's Line 5, which runs from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario.

A nearly 5-mile-long section reaches beneath the Straits of Mackinac, the link between Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Enbridge says the underwater section has never leaked and remains safe.

Environmentalists want it removed.

State seeks public comment on pipeline draft documents

Feb 1, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - State officials are seeking public comment on two draft requests for information and proposals that will be issued to contractors interested in performing independent risk analysis and independent alternatives analysis on pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

Mackinac Bridge
Michigan Historical Center

Environmental activists are planning events during the Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk to call attention to a number of issues, including a controversial oil pipeline in the area.

A group called We Protect Mother Earth says its protest will feature speeches and a drumming ceremony.

It will begin around 9 a.m. Monday at the St. Ignace Welcome Center on the north side of the bridge, where thousands of people will be taking part in the annual holiday walk.

Meanwhile, a kayak flotilla will assemble in the water near the south end of the bridge.

Dreyer Jim
danirving.photoshelter.com / Dreyer Jim

Heavy currents in Michigan's Straits of Mackinac foiled a long-distance swimmer's test: Swimming to Mackinac Island towing a barge carrying a vehicle loaded with fudge.
 
Jim Dreyer said Monday he was a mile from shore Saturday when an east wind pushed him back to St. Ignace. He swam about 6.5 miles with the barge before unhooking and free-swimming to the island while the barge sailed independently.
 
Dreyer swam 14 hours total and 10 hours towing the barge weighing about 19 tons - more than originally thought.