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State officials concerned after latest Line 5 report

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

State officials say they’re troubled by a new safety report from Enbridge Energy on Line Five. The report says there are more spots that have been laid bare to the metal because its safety coating has worn off.

Enbridge Energy delivered that report to state officials Monday.

Guy Jarvis of Enbridge says Line Five is safe, but the company is trying to be more transparent.

“We need to change the way we communicate. We understand the public is asking for more. We understand that we need to provide the government officials with more, as well,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis admits that the company has done a poor job of sharing details on how it’s managed.

“We need to be more transparent about all things going on around Line Five, not just the things we think represent the highest potential from a risk perspective,” he said.

Governor Rick Snyder released a statement following Enbridge’s latest report. He says there’s no imminent threat to the Great Lakes, but he says there are “significant concerns” for the long term.

More from Snyder's press release:

“Enbridge’s announcement today about Line 5 is deeply concerning. While it does not indicate any imminent danger for the Great Lakes, this causes significant concern for the long term. I am no longer satisfied with the operational activities and public information tactics that have become status quo for Enbridge. It is vitally important that Enbridge immediately become much more transparent about the condition of Line 5 and their activities to ensure protection of the Great Lakes.”

The Michigan Pipeline Safety Commission plans to call Enbridge to testify at its December 11th meeting on the status of Line Five maintenance.

Line Five runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac between lakes Huron and Michigan.

The company says seven of eight bare spots will be repaired before winter begins. One repair will have to wait until next year.

In full 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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