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Pipeline Owner Presents In Front Of Standing Room Only Crowd

Enbridge Energy

People flooded a state board meeting Monday to express their concern about an oil and gas pipeline in Lake Michigan. 

It was standing room only at a relatively obscure state board meeting Monday.

The Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board heard a presentation from the oil and gas company that owns “Line Five” - an oil and gas pipeline that runs along the bottom of Lake Michigan near the Mackinac Bridge. 

During the presentation, Kurt Baraniecki, Director for Integrity Programs with Enbridge told the board, “This pipeline is in as good a condition as it was the day it was installed.  Our corrosion prevention system is doing its job.  Our monitoring efforts are effective.”

But an independent report prepared by former Dow engineer says Enbridge’s “Line Five” shows signs of cracks in the coating and other potential problems. 

Edward Timm spoke during the public comment portion of the board meeting. 

“I believe that this pipe has some compromised metal in it in certain sections,” he said.  “I believe that information needs to be fed to the people that are trying to do a fitness for service determination for this board.”

Spokesperson for Enbridge Ryan Duffy said after the meeting that based on what they have read of Timm’s report, there is no new information. 

“All those things that he brought up, those are things that we look at constantly and we study and we do integrity tests,” he said.  “And all our tests have shown that the line is in good shape.”

Following the meeting, advisory board member Jennifer McKay said she still has concerns about coating loss on the pipes. 

“It sounded from the presentation that they gave that they need a lot more investigative work to be done to ultimately determine what is causing the loss of coating, how it’s impacting the line and how they’re ganna move forward in light of this information,” she said.

Governor Rick Snydercreated the pipeline safety board to implement recommendations laid out in a state report that focused on the safety of Line Five. 

The board is expected to review two pipeline reports in June.  Those reports will look at the risks of keeping Line Five open and alternatives to the pipeline.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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