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LANSING – In comments submitted to the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board this week, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources highlighted concerns about Line 5’s risk for Michigan’s fisheries, endangered species and wildlife. According to the DNR comment, the State’s Line 5 Alternatives Analysis omitted critical environmental impact information that should have a bearing on the pipeline’s future.
“Overall…the discussions and inclusion of readily available environmental information is very limited,” reads the DNR comment. “There is limited to no discussion on effects to rare species, including State or Federal listed threatened or endangered species.”
The DNR, in comments on the draft Line 5 Alternatives Analysis, pointed to several errors, omissions and flaws in the report that the state says it will rely on to make decisions on the future of the aging pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac. Michigan’s 1953 easement agreement giving Enbridge permission for operating Line 5 is held by the DNR.
In its comments, the DNR cited shortcomings in evaluating the impact of a Line 5 oil spill on drinking water sources, endangered species, Native America fishing rights and suggested the study used the wrong data in evaluating the impact of corrosion on the 64-year-old pipeline. A failure to evaluate a worst-case oil spill and incorporate the impact on oil spill recovery during winter ice conditions were also cited by the DNR.
Oil & Water Don’t Mix emphasized that Michigan’s rich ecosystems and natural resources depend on pristine conditions in our Great Lakes – and a Straits oil spill would be devastating for fish and wildlife.
“Our state’s Great Lakes, shorelines and ecosystems are what make Michigan unique, and a catastrophic oil spill from the 64-year-old Line 5 pipelines poses a totally unacceptable risk to our natural resources,” said David Holtz, chair of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and campaign coordinator of Oil & Water Don’t Mix. “The fact that a state agency has pointed out serious shortcomings in the study only reinforces the need for the state not to allow this flawed study to continue delaying action to decommission Line 5 in the Straits. Attorney General Schuette has the legal duty to protect our Great Lakes.”
The DNR’s full comment can be downloaded from the Michigan Petroleum Pipelines website at: https://mipetroleumpipelines.com/sites/mipetroleumpipelines.com/files/DNR%20Review%20Alt%20Analysis_Final%20Comments.docx