Mike Moeller is director of operations for the Great Lakes region for Enbridge.
For the last few years, there have been numerous, often impassioned, public discussions about the future of Line 5.
Through these discussions, many of us have come to recognize that while Line 5 continues to operate safely, it is important to plan for the future. As such, Enbridge began working with the State of Michigan to determine options for Line 5.
The options needed to be feasible to ensure they would advance safety and environmental protections without compromising the delivery of energy on which area families and businesses rely.
Extensive assessments and studies have shown that construction of a tunnel to house a new Line 5 is the best option to continue providing safe, reliable energy delivery while providing superior environmental protection. The State of Michigan recently approved the tunnel replacement project and Enbridge has committed to paying all costs related to construction and operation.
Our commitment to the tunnel reflects an important investment in Michigan and the communities we serve. Such infrastructure investment will help ensure the reliability and affordability of the region’s energy supply by linking Michigan’s two peninsulas.
The tunnel project will make a safe pipeline safer in several ways: It will house a new Line 5 under the Straits and incorporate multiple layers of protection.
This includes constructing the tunnel with one-foot-thick concrete walls, reducing the chances of a leak into the Straits virtually to zero. The tunnel will be built 100 feet underground, making an anchor strike from a vessel in the Straits of Mackinac impossible.
Every day, the people of Michigan count on the energy that’s safely delivered by Line 5. This pipeline carries products necessary to heat homes and power industry and the state’s economy. More than half the state’s propane to heat homes and businesses is delivered from this pipeline alone.
The tunnel replacement project will take several years to obtain the necessary permits and complete the construction.
We recognize that many people want us to take action now to put additional precautions in place. We have listened intently and are taking responsive steps.
As the tunnel project progresses and planning begins, we are implementing additional safety measures on the current dual pipelines in the Straits.
We are providing funding for cameras to give the U.S. Coast Guard capabilities to monitor in real time ships entering the Straits. As demonstrated over the last several months, we have - and will continue to - shut down Line 5 in the Straits during adverse weather conditions. We also are adding safety enhancements to other Line 5 water crossings.
Line 5 continues to safely provide the energy Michigan residents need. The time is right, though, to build for the future. The tunnel replacement project is the best option to help shape Michigan’s energy and economic future in a safe, environmentally responsible manner, and Enbridge is pleased to be part of Michigan’s next steps.
Related Enbridge Line 5 coverage and opinons:
- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signs Line 5 tunnel bill; appoints authority members
- Emails cast doubt about Michigan’s ties to Enbridge in Line 5 debate
- ‘History of failure’ highlights Line 5 risks outside Straits of Mackinac
- Opinion | Line 5 tunnel is good for Michigan workers
- Opinion | Line 5 tunnel is a huge improvement. Construction needs to start yesterday
- Opinion | A tunnel for Line 5 is good news – for Canadians
- Opinion | Need a reason to care about a Line 5 spill? Here’s 6 billion of them.