Federal officials hear arguments on Enbridge pipeline tunnel

Michigan Pipeline

FILE – This June 2020 file photo, shot from a television screen provided by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy shows damage to anchor support EP-17-1 on the east leg of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline within the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer criticized Enbridge Inc. on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 for what she described as the company’s refusal to make an airtight pledge that it would pay for any damages caused by an oil spill from its pipeline beneath a Great Lakes waterway. (Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy via AP File)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP/WJMN) — Supporters and opponents of a proposed oil pipeline tunnel beneath a Great Lakes channel are making their case to federal officials.

The Army Corps of Engineers hosted an online public hearing Monday on Enbridge’s application for a permit.

We support a thorough, robust regulatory process and believe a diversity of viewpoints and perspectives are important, and we welcome the wide-ranging public input that is part of the hearing,” wrote Enbridge.

“Recent polling shows the majority of Michiganders support the Great Lakes Tunnel Project, and we are committed to building it. The Michigan House of Representatives and 26 counties have now passed resolutions in support of the project.

The $500 million tunnel would house the underwater portion of Line 5, which carries oil between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.

“Placing a pipeline in a new Great Lakes Tunnel will provide extra layers of safety and environmental protection and make what is currently a safe pipeline even safer, while creating Michigan jobs and securing the needed energy for consumers in Michigan and the region,” wrote Enbridge.

“Line 5 is the primary source of propane and crude oil for Michigan and surrounding areas used for heating homes, fueling transportation and manufacturing consumer goods. The entire region, including five states and Canada’s two largest provinces, depend on Line 5 for millions of gallons of transportation fuel every day.”

It would replace twin pipes that now run along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The Corps says it will accept written comments through Dec. 17.

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