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Coast Guard names Straits of Mackinac "no anchor zone"

map of Line 5
Enbridge Energy

Governor Snyder’s office says a new rule from the United States Coast Guard will better protect the Great Lakes from oil spills.

The Coast Guard named the Straits of Mackinac a "no anchor" zone. This prohibits boats from dropping anchor in the area.

In May, the state temporarily blocked boats from anchoring there.

This was after the state said the pipeline was reportedly dented by an anchor.

“This is one of the many things we are doing in conjunction with Enbridge, the company that owns Line 5, to increase the safety level as it goes throughout the entire state of Michigan but particularly through the Straits of Mackinac,” said Ari Adler, a spokesperson for Governor Snyder’s office.

Here's an excerpt from a press release from the governor's office:

The new “no anchor” zone, known as a regulated navigation area, goes into effect Oct. 31 and prohibits vessels from anchoring or loitering without permission within a designated area. The boundaries are longitudes 084°20? W and 085°10? W and latitudes 045°39? N and 045°54? N (NAD 83), including Grays Reef Passage, the South Channel between Bois Blanc Island and Cheboygan, and the waters between Mackinac Island and St. Ignace. Vessels will be prohibited from anchoring over any charted, submerged cable and pipeline within the “no anchor” area unless the crew has received permission from the Captain of the Port of Sault Ste. Marie, or a designated representative. The Coast Guard said loitering does not include brief stops by companies offering sight-seeing, ferrying, or tourism services.

Earlier this month, the state of Michigan and Enbridge came to an agreement to build a tunnel around the aging Line 5 pipeline, and replace the current section with a new section of pipeline. The state says Enbridge would pay for the construction and maintenance of the tunnel, and the Mackinac Bridge Authority would oversee the construction.

Editor's note: Enbridge is one of Michigan Radio's many corporate sponsors.

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