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Enbridge says pressure test shows Line 5 is safe

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

Enbridge Energy says it’s pressure testing the structural integrity of Line Five beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The company says the results appear to show the oil and gas pipeline does not pose a serious threat to the Great Lakes.

The company tested the first of two underwater pipes over the weekend.

“The test confirms that the west strait segment of Line Five is fit for service,” says Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy. He says the pipe was subjected to pressure several times more intense than what it’s exposed to on a normal day without a problem. “It is important for Enbridge to meet the energy needs of Michigan  families and businesses at the same time protecting the Great Lakes, and we feel the best way to do that is by operating Line Five safely.”

The company insists Line Five is the safest way to move oil and gas through the region, but Enbridge and the state face public pressure to shut down the 65-year-old pipeline. Critics say they’re concerned with the structural integrity of the line, and whether the public has access to enough information on its safety.

“So I think there are definitely things we could be doing and should be doing to kind of put to bed some of these concerns,” says Charlotte Jameson with the Michigan League of

Conservation Voters, which has called for the line to be shut down. She says pressure testing is helpful, but there are better measures of whether Line Five is safe.

A state commission has asked for two reports that are due in coming weeks on the line’s safety, and possible alternatives.

Disclosure: Enbridge Energy is a financial supporter of Michigan Radio.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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