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Enbridge can restart east segment of Line 5 pipeline

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge expects to bring the east segment of its Line 5 pipeline back online later Thursday after a judge gave the green light Wednesday.

Update: Thursday, September 10, 10 p.m.

An Enbridge spokesman, Michael Barnes, confirms that the east leg of Line 5 returned to full operations at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, saying, "The east leg is operating as normal."

Original post: Wednesday, September 9, 6:52 p.m.

Enbridge has won in court to restart the east segment of the crude oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. The oil may start flowing again Thursday afternoon. 

Back in June, a judge ordered the Enbridge Line 5pipeline shut down, after damage and wear were discovered in the decades’ old pipeline.

The west segment of the pipeline was restarted in July.

On Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge James Jamo ruled the east segment could restart, citing a third party expert did not identify “any integrity issues.”

An Enbridge spokesman called the ruling “very positive for the many residents and businesses in Michigan and the Great Lakes region.” 

“Enbridge will continue to focus on the safe operation of the dual Line 5 pipelines at the Straits of Mackinac, ensuring the Great Lakes are protected while also reliably delivering the energy and feedstock that helps to fuel Michigan’s and the region’s economy,” says Vern Yu, Executive Vice President and President of Liquids Pipelines.

The ruling is not stopping the Michigan Attorney General’s office’s quest to shut down the pipeline. 

“Our stipulation that Line 5 wasn’t structurally damaged, after review of the in-line inspection data by PHMSA and an expert retained by our office, doesn’t change the Attorney General’s position in her lawsuit that the pipelines are a clear and present danger,” says Ryan Jarvi, Michigan Attorney General’s office spokesman.

The AG’s office will continue to pursue the decommissioning of Line 5 in a lawsuit filed last year against Enbridge.

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

At 7:30 PM Eastern Time today, Line 5 returned to full operations. The east leg is operating as normal.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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