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Snyder "greatly concerned" protective coating in areas of Line 5 was accidently removed

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

The state is ordering Enbridge Energy to take swift action to fix portions of the Line 5 energy pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge reported to the state that small portions of enamel coating were accidentally removed in two places. The coating protects the oil and gas line that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac from corrosion.

Melody Kindraka of the state Department of Environmental Quality says there’s no immediate threat to the Great Lakes, but it’s concerning that the problem was the result of human error.

“At this time, we are not aware of any potential problems, but we will certainly be working with Enbridge to make sure everything is addressed,” Kindraka said.

(What's the condition of Line 5? The state doesn't know. Only Enbridge does. Here's why.)

“Protection of Michigan’s natural resources is of utmost importance, and I am greatly concerned by the new information regarding Line 5,” Governor Rick Snyder said in a written statement late Wednesday.

“I have directed our departments to accelerate an aggressive review of Enbridge operations and maintenance procedures throughout the state.”

Last fall, Enbridge posted a document on its website that references testing places “where bare metal is exposed.” The document shows 18 specific areas along the pipelines where there is “coating delamination.” The 64-year-old pipelines were installed with a coating around them to protect for corrosion.

Line 5 moves more than half a million barrels of light crude oil and natural gas liquids daily. A state commission considering the future of the pipeline is facing pressure to shut down Line Fine.

Enbridge says the pipeline is the safest way to move energy through the region.

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

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported Enbridge Line 5 transports liquid natural gas. That is not correct. It transports light crude and natural gas liquids. 

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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