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New dents in Line 5 pipeline likely came from same vessel that hit electric cables

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
A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.

Three small dents in Enbridge Energy's Line 5 pipeline are likely from the same vessel that caused damage to electrical cables in the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge told the state late Tuesday night that the damage poses no threat to the pipeline, although a previous independent analysis listed anchor damage as one of the largest risks to the line.

A press release from the governor's office says that Gov. Snyder has "called on Enbridge to accelerate the identification of anchor strike mitigation measures and the evaluation of alternatives to replace pipelines that are required under the Governor’s November agreement with Enbridge."

That agreement stipulated the company must undertake a study on the placement of a new pipeline or the existing dual pipelines in a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac, among other, more immediate fixes.

Snyder rejected a panel's recommendation to temporarily shut down Line 5 in January.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley also asked Attorney General Bill Schuette to initiate legal action on behalf of the state against the ship’s owners and operators or other potential responsible parties.

Last week, electric cables owned by the American Transmission Company began leaking synthetic coolant. The leak was discovered after two of the cables went offline, according to ATC officials.

It appears that a ship dropped an anchor in the no-anchor zone, and may be responsible for causing the damage on both Line 5 and the electric cables.

In full disclosure, Enbridge Energy is a financial supporter of Michigan Radio.

Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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