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Michigan receives seven proposals to conduct analyses on Straits of Mackinac pipelines

Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
Enbridge Energy's Line 5 oil and natural gas liquids pipelines runs under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.

A news release from the Pipeline Safety Advisory Boardsaid the state of Michigan has announced the names of the seven prospective contractors who submitted proposals to conduct analyses on the Straits of Mackinac Pipelines known as Enbridge Line 5. 

Four of the proposals were for risk analysis of the 60-year-old pipeline, while the other three proposals were for alternatives to shipping gas and oil beneath the Straits of Mackinac. 

The four contractors submitting proposals to conduct risk analysis are: ABS Consulting, Houston, Texas; Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio; DNV GL (USA), Inc., Katy, Texas; and G2 Partners, Houston, Texas.

According to the news release, the costs for these proposals range from $210,000 to $2,395,102.  The risk analysis proposals also reiterate Enbridge’s responsibility to maintain financial assurance in case a spill occurs. 

Three prospective contractors submitted proposals to conduct the alternatives analysis are: Contek Solutions, Plano, Texas; Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems, Calgary, Alberta; and DNV GL (USA), Inc., Katy, Texas. According to the news release, the costs for these proposals ranged from $672,300 to $2,920,200. 

Michigan Radio first reported on the unknown status of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline in October of 2014. The company released only a limited amount of information at that time about what their diagnostic tools were showing.

More information about the condition of the pipeline was released in December 2015 that showed some signs of corrosion. Following these concerns, and in the wake of the Flint water crisis, the U.S. Senate gave unanimous approval to a funding bill that increased protections in the Great Lakes and re-authorized the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the federal agency that oversees pipelines. 

State officials demanded more information from Enbridge in a March letter where they demanded both risk and alternatives analysis. 

These seven proposals come after the state of Michigan decided to extend the deadline for proposals to April 18. A state task force will use the findings to make recommendations on the future of Line 5 later this year. 

*Correction ?- an earlier version of this story stated that Enbridge released data showing corrosion in Line 5 at the Straits in February 2016. The company released that information in December of 2015.

*Editor's note: Enbridge Energy is a financial supporter of Michigan Radio.

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