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Rep. Candice Miller introduces bill that could shut down Enbridge Line 5

The Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio

A new bill in Congress would shut down an oil and gas pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac, if a study shows it's a significant risk to the Great Lakes.

Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller introduced the Great Lakes Pipeline Safety Act on Wednesday.

The legislation calls for a comprehensive analysis of the environmental and economic threat that Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline poses to Great Lakes waters.

"By their own admission, the company's goal is to continue to keep this pipeline in operation indefinitely. So, let us all agree that it's absolutely, 100 percent safe," Miller said.

Under the bill, the U.S. Department of Transportation would have 18 months to complete the analysis.

If the study finds Line 5 poses a significant risk to "life, property or the environment," the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration would be required to shut it down.

Miller says she understands a shutdown of Line 5 would be costly, but in this case, "an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure."

"There's a tremendous amount of energy that's coming through that pipeline into Michigan, into the United States, but we have to makes sure that as we're transporting energy products, we do it in a way that doesn't threaten our Great Lakes," Miller said.

Enbridge has maintained the pipeline is safe and has never leaked.

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

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