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New Pipeline Project Proposed Under Michigan Channel

You are currently viewing New Pipeline Project Proposed Under Michigan Channel
The pipeline runs between two Great Lakes.
  • Post category:Blogs

Michigan state legislatures have approved a plan to update a pipeline which runs under the channel connecting the two Great Lakes. The plan consists of building a tunnel around a portion of the current pipeline, to create a protective shell around the pipeline. The pipeline is quite old, and the age is starting to create wear and tear. The approval came from the state’s Public Service Commission, which is a three-person committee in the state. The vote results to pass the proposal was 2-0. One of the commissioners, Commissioner Alessandra Carreon, abstained from the vote as she felt she was too new to the committee to have vote on this matter. Carreon has been on the Public Service Commission for just four months.

The proposed plan was approved with a $500 million budget.

One of the other commissioners, Commissioner Dan Scripps, who actually ranks as the chairperson of the commission, feels that the tunnel is the best mode of action for them to tank currently. He explained that the protective tunnel will be able to lower the risk of a spill while the state still largely relies on oil use. He further stated that “an oil spill in the straits would be, in a word, catastrophic.

This proposal did not come into action without opposition. Protestors lined up outside of the commission after the vote to express their anger with this action. They said this action will just further dig the state into the grasps of fossil fuels when they should be working toward more renewable energy resources.

The plan requires approval from one more entity before any construction actually starts. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has to issue their formal approval first, but first they have to complete their environmental impact statement. The final decision from them may not even come until 2026, which means the state could continue to be in an awkward in between state.

The oil company, Enbridge Energy, is who has been behind the operations of this pipeline since the 1950s.

In 2017, they revealed that they had data showing gaps in the protective coat of the pipeline going back to 2014. The damaged pipeline raised even further concerns about an oil spill in the already risky location. If a spill were to occur, the oil would leak out into the Great Lakes, causing irreversible damage to the land and likely leading to significant illnesses for those in the surrounding areas, especially Indigenous people in the area.

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