Enbridge Line 5 shutdown prompts Michigan debate over risks vs. economic harm

A photo Enbridge provided to the state shows the damaged anchor support on the lakebottom petroleum pipeline. A judge has ordered the pipeline temporarily shut down following the damage.

The Line 5 pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac is no longer transporting petroleum products, after a judge on Thursday ordered a temporary shutdown — giving Michigan a preview of the permanent shutdown some in Michigan have long desired and others have long fought. 

The shutdown, which comes a week after pipeline owner Enbridge Energy reported damage to an anchor support on the pipeline, has been met with cheers from opponents who decry Line 5 as an unacceptable oil spill liability in the Great Lakes, and jeers from supporters who say the pipeline is critical infrastructure whose risks have been overblown.

In a statement Thursday, Michigan Attorney General and Line 5 critic Dana Nessel said she was grateful for the ruling, but it is “only a short-term fix.”

Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer both campaigned for office in 2018 on a promise to shut down Line 5. Nessel is pursuing lawsuits intended to permanently shutter the pipeline and has said she believes Whitmer has legal authority to revoke a 1953 easement that gives Enbridge permission to site the line in the Straits.  

“If the lines are put back into operation, one mismanaged incident or accident would result in a historic catastrophe for our state,” Nessel said in the statement. “Work must continue toward complete removal of Line 5 from our waters.” 

Enbridge and Line 5 advocates, meanwhile, panned the decision temporarily shutting down Line 5.

“Enbridge is disappointed in the court’s ruling as we believe that Life 5 is safe,” said Vern Yu, the company’s executive vice president and president of liquids pipelines, in a statement.

Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, called the shutdown “silly” and accused Nessel of resorting to legal action without giving Enbridge time to cooperate with the state. He questioned whether Nessel’s concern was truly about pipeline safety or a “vendetta” against the petroleum industry. 

Enbridge contends even a short-lived shutdown would bring “immediate and severe” economic consequences. A prolonged shutdown, a company statement released Thursday said, would yield “critical gasoline supply shortages and gasoline price increases for consumers in Michigan and the surrounding region.”

But industry experts predicted that as long as if the shutdown remains short, Michigan fuel supplies should remain stable and prices should increase by a couple of cents per gallon at worst.

“It’ll be a blip,” said Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group in Chicago. 

A weeklong battle

Thursday’s news of a temporary shutdown is the latest twist in a weeklong battle between state officials and Enbridge, after the company discovered June 18 that an anchor support on one of the pipeline’s two spans beneath the Straits of Mackinac has sustained “significant damage.”

After detecting the damage, Enbridge stopped petroleum transports in both legs of the pipeline and used divers and a remote-operated vehicle to investigate. 

By Saturday afternoon, Enbridge had reopened the west leg after determining it was not damaged.

That prompted a protest from Whitmer and Nessel, both of whom said Enbridge had failed to adequately consult the state on what was known about the damage or the company’s decision to restart production through one of the twin lines. 

In a letter Saturday, Whitmer asked Enbridge CEO Al Monaco to shut down the line and provide the state with engineering reports, photographs, video and other evidence of the damage, as well as a full report about what caused the damage and how Enbridge will prevent it from happening again.

Enbridge continued to operate the west line, arguing that it answers to federal regulators with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, and not to the state. Federal regulators had “no objections” to reopening the west leg, Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said in a statement. 

That assertion, combined with what Whitmer called a unilateral decision to partially reopen the pipeline without gaining state approval, prompted Nessel on Monday to seek a temporary restraining order and injunction to temporarily shut down the pipeline.

In a decision issued Thursday, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Jamo granted that request. Enbridge must cease operations on both legs of Line 5 “as immediately as possible,” Jamo wrote, and the pipeline must remain closed until Jamo rules on the injunction request. A hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Enbridge still has not said what damaged the anchor support. In photos the state released Thursday, the anchor support appears to have been wrenched askew. An Enbridge report on the damage, which the state released Thursday evening, notes the support experienced “longitudinal loading” that did not significantly damage the pipeline itself.

In his order, Jamo said Enbridge was in violation of a 1953 state easement that grants the company permission to site the pipeline in the bottomlands. That agreement also requires Enbridge to exercise “due care” in its Line 5 operations, the judge noted. 

By failing to provide the state with “sufficient documentation” related to the damage, Jamo wrote, Enbridge left the state unable to assess any lingering risk of harm, violating the easement. 

Economic concerns or ‘scare tactics’?

Line 5 opponents, who have long called for the pipeline’s shutdown on grounds that it poses a potentially catastrophic oil spill hazard in the Great Lakes, celebrated the order while calling on Whitmer to permanently shut down the pipeline. 

“Judge Jamo made a really wise decision,” Sean McBrearty, of the group Oil & Water Don’t Mix, told Bridge. “Now we need Governor Whitmer to take the next step and revoke the easement.”

Jamo’s decision prompted an outcry from Line 5 proponents, who said they worry the temporary shutdown will imperil jobs and raise fuel prices in Michigan and elsewhere.

The line transports up to 540,000 gallons of crude oil and natural gas liquids across the Straits daily as it travels between Wisconsin and Ontario. 

The pipeline provides nearly 88 percent of the Upper Peninsula’s propane, and its proponents often note that without the pipeline, the region’s already-high energy prices would likely rise higher. 

In addition to the impact on fuel supplies, McBroom, whose Senate district covers most of the Upper Peninsula, said he worries about the economic impacts of work stoppages caused by the shutdown. 

“The products that are in this line employ hundreds, if not thousands, of people,” said McBroom, R-Vulcan. “To adversely impact them is a shame.” 

Enbridge, for its part, contends that shutting down the line will create a shortfall of 14.7 million gallons of transportation fuel a day, affecting fuel prices and putting refineries at risk of closure. Refineries in Detroit, Ohio and Ontario use oil from Line 5.

McBrearty, of Oil & Water Don’t Mix, called those figures misleading. “It’s a scare tactic that Enbridge has been using for years,” he said.

Analysts and industry representatives who spoke to Bridge about Jamo’s order said a temporary shutdown is not likely to wreak the havoc some say they fear. 

Mark Griffin, president of the Michigan Petroleum Association, which represents gas stations, truck stops and propane providers, said a short-term shutdown of a few days won’t noticeably impact his members or result in fuel higher prices for consumers.

“But the longer it lasts, the worse it means for the cost of petroleum products,” he said.

Concerns over the potential impact of a Line 5 shutdown prompted Whitmer last year to form a task force charged with identifying alternative modes of getting propane to the Upper Peninsula in the event of a prolonged shutdown. The task force offered 14 recommendations, such as exploring options for increasing propane storage in Michigan and expanding rail transport options.

Eric Pardini, director of Public Sector Consultants, led a study that helped the task force form its conclusions. Pardini said any disruption in Line 5 will affect propane supplies in the Upper Peninsula, but that impact is tempered by the fact that this shutdown is happening during the summer, when demand is low.

June through August represent a combined total of less than 10 percent of annual propane consumption in Michigan, he said, so “as far as customers go, it’s really opportune timing.”

Pardini said the temporary shutdown highlights the “outsized level of risk” to the Upper Peninsula’s propane supply because it relies so heavily upon a pipeline that represents a “single point of failure.” 

If Line 5 becomes unavailable for any reason, “there aren’t a lot of other options.” 

Advocates for the line’s shutdown, meanwhile, noted that any temporary economic impact pales in comparison to the risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the straits, should the line be deemed unsafe as a result of last week’s damage.

Pipeline safety expert Richard Kuprewicz, president of Accufacts, Inc., said Enbridge bears a high burden of proof that the damaged anchor support doesn’t pose a spill risk, and Michigan officials are justified in their quest for complete information about the circumstances surrounding the damaged anchor support. 

Many Michiganders distrust the company, he said, because of the 2010 transmission line failure that caused 1.2 million gallons of oil to spill into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River from an Enbridge line. 

Line 5’s placement at the bottom of the Straits poses an even greater risk, Kuprewicz said. Whatever the economic impact of a temporary shutdown, he said, it pales in comparison to the potential damage a spill would wreak.

“You want to see a change in the economics?” he said. “Put oil in the Great Lakes.”

Jamo appears to have reached a similar conclusion in his review of Nessel’s shutdown request. In ordering the pipeline closed, he wrote that the danger of continuing to operate without assurance that the pipeline is safe following the anchor support damage “far exceeds the risk of financial loss,” of a temporary shutdown.

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middle of the mit
Thu, 06/25/2020 - 10:58pm

It seems as though this is another story about how Republicans just want to dismiss regulations until something fails and then they will blame the Feds or the State.

It also is another example of how a private corporation says they don't have to deal with State regulators because they are under the authority of the Feds. I wonder if Fed rules are more stringent or even being enforced?

And the only other thing I would like to point out is that the UP is above the Mackinaw Bridge. Why couldn't they just use those emergency shut off valves they say they have set up before the pipe enters the Straits and still supply the UP with propane?

More profit over safety.

Why doesn't Enbridge build a pipeline in Canada and then drill under the Detroit River to bring it to MI? Less tunnel, less drilling and then if there is a spill it won't be in OUR beautiful Great Lakes, it will be in Canada.

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 1:57pm

It seems you [and AG Nessel] don't like the idea of following regulations, because it it seems the federal regulation [Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration rules that Enbridge is conforming to] are being adhered to and that is allowing the pipeline to operate.

There you go again looking for the magic in science, while trying to ignore the basic realities of science. The pipeline is stop now, it is full by the judge's ordering Enbridge not to pump what is in the pipeline, so as much as you think Enbridge should be pumping those products the UP needs there is simply no way to put in and pump what you want when the judge says don't pump, don't empty the pipeline. It is science, you can only put a gallon of material in a gallon bucket, and until you empty the bucket there is no room to put more in that bucket. Pipelines are like a long series of buckets.

As for the state regulators we know that AG Nessel was more interested in getting 7 figure fines from the owners of the Edenville Dam that lowering the water level and lowering the risk/damage done by the dam failure. Mabye that is what AG Nessel is using for her standard of judgment and risk, how her office made the Edenville Dam a national news item, so she expects everyone else to think like she does.
I am still waiting for you and AG Nessel and Governor Whitmer and any of the others to tells what events, what causes would make the pipeline spill, or would prevent the tunnel from working not stopping damage to the pipeline.

Are you one of those 'not in my back yard' so you want the hundreds of miles of pristine Canadian wilderness torn up and the environmental disruption that would cause simply to stop the pumping in your 'backyard? Would you allow the shutdown empty pipeline to remain in the ground across the UP and northern Michigan or would you want them to come in dig up the pipeline and remove it and doing all the environmental disruption that would cause?

middle of the mit
Fri, 06/26/2020 - 5:09pm


No, see I am just taking into account how other private companies in MI recently have shirked the regulators and conservatives complained because there was no oversight, while those same conservatives do the three monkeys when it comes to regulation, See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. and then look the other way. They did it with the EPA when the EPA wanted to test Flint water. They are now doing it with the Boyce Hydro. Who wrote that 3 paragraph A-OK letter when the State took over in 2018? It's not looking for magic in science, it is science period. When private companies are allowed to police themselves they abuse the power time and time again. Observable and repeatable.

Unless the Judge stopped the entirety of Line 5, which I don't think the Judge did, the rest of Line 5 is in the UP, the Judge just stopped pumping through the Straits. That means they can't use Line 5 as a pumped system, but they sure could use it as reservoir for the gas in the UP. Think really long really big propane tank.

Oh you poor man. You still think bringing the water level from minus 8 feet to minus 3 feet is what caused the dam to crash. What did the lakefront owners raising the level 3 feet to 0 level do? And why was it minus 8 feet to begin with? Because the private owner knew there were problems and wouldn't pay for them. When Enbridge did that last time it was the largest inland oil spill in America, not just MI. Once again, observable and repeatable.

You have heard all the reasons that the line should be not crossing the Straits, you refuse to listen.

"NIMBY!" ha ha ha ha! Here is where duane tells us that Canada and it's pristine wilderness are worth saving more than Michigans.

I think I am just going to leave it at that.

No oil?
Sat, 06/27/2020 - 8:12am


How does modern society work without oil? Petroleum products are in every single facet of our lives. Do you drive car, heat your house, buy anything from any store, use medication, use anything with any plastic? All of those things are dependent upon oil!
The tunnel would alleviate many of the potential accidents such as anchor strikes. Simply saying “oil and water don’t mix” is infantile and unrealistic. The pipeline has been safely run for decades and there is no reason that cannot continue. If anyone that opposes line 5 uses any petroleum products they are being hypocrites. We all depend upon oil, all of us.

Simple solutions
Mon, 06/29/2020 - 1:40pm

If they need propane in the UP, just run the line in the UP and cork it before crossing the lakes. Otherwise "Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer both campaigned for office in 2018 on a promise to shut down Line 5." So it seems the voters decided they want it shut down when they elected Nessel and Whitmer. If that wasn't clear enough, let the voters decide in November with a referendum. "Hundreds/thousands of jobs" LOL Please list them. Oh and is a rep from Vulcan really in a position to decide for the rest of the state???? As mentioned in the article, if there is a spill, especially during the winter all those propane users will be even worse off than now. Plan accordingly with alternatives. "88% of all propane" doesn't mean much if we don't know how many people depend exclusively on propane. Oh and federal laws only??? So what happened to states' rights??? Line 5 and Enbridge are both EXTREMELY unpopular in Michigan. Our disdain for them is the one nonpartisan thing most of us in Michigan can agree with. Only people in the pocket of Enbridge disagree. Enbridge has a horrible history of lying and let's not forget Enbridge was responsible for one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history. Damages from that spill linger still today.

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 8:47pm

I am surprised you didn't recommend simply connecting all the homes to natural gas, it is much lower in carbon emissions.

middle of the mit
Mon, 06/29/2020 - 7:04pm

Who said no oil? Re reading my original comment, and my reply to duane, I couldn't find where I wrote that. What did I find? That duane thinks I am the NIMBY king when it is really Canada that doesn't want the oil in THEIR PRISTINE FORESTS. I wonder why?

You say the pipeline has run safely for decades. You do realize that the pipeline is 15 years beyond it's life expectancy? You do realize the only reason the tunnel project is even a project is because Enbridge knows something.....and they are willing to spend a LOT of money to dig a tunnel that WE Michiganders have forced them into, right? Do you think they would've done that without pressure, or do you think they would do what Boyce Hydro did and stall? That dam was used safely for almost a Century! Everyone touts their safety record until the thing they refuse to fix fails. I don't want that in OUR lakes. And I don't want to come here and say "I TOLD YOU SO!"...........EVER!

If we had tried for the last 30 years to look for alternatives to dirty oil and coal, WE probably wouldn't be as dependent on that dirty oil.

The only hypocrisy is coming from those who think infrastructure lasts for ever and private companies won't put us in Danger.

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 8:44pm

Was that life expectancy established as a financial life, the length of time it needed to operate at the economic condition when it was first built? Was it the life based on the technology and best guesses of the time? The reality is that many technology out live their initial life expectance [except those replace with more productive technology] for many reason, the technology of maintaining the equipment advance, the, new understanding of conditions show they weren't as severe as expected or the materials proved better constructed than expected, and the list goes on.
The ignorance is perpetrated by those who do not learn the science and how to apply it, do realize that means/methods of operation are dynamic and the people can be ever changing them to extend there value and useful life. The availability of computers for operation 50 years ago has had a simple impact on operation to smooth out the operating extremes [high to low] and that can extend the life of equipment. You are self delusional it you do realize that we have been displacing coal for over a hundred years, why do you think we stop using coal to heat our homes generations ago. You may not realize it but I have read [this is in the news media so it is suspect] China is effectively building 121gigawatts of new coal plans, while here in Michigan we are closing all of our coal plants, that can only happen because of the technology put into service here over 50 year ago [someone must have been working on replacing coal long before you are willing to accept].
You must not want to be willing to accept data that is not convenient, I wonder how long it took you to believe that seatbelts actually saved lives, that staying the car where manufacturers like Ford, GM, and Chrysler create a place where there was/is room to live.
The reality you are unwilling to grasp is that private companies know the value of infrastructure and the successful ones budget for the continuous level to ensure sustainability, and that includes investing in new and better ways to build and maintain that infrastructure. Successful companies don't use catch phrases, like 'Fix the damn Roads', they actual do it as part of there long-term budgeting and include it in people's performance accountability.
I don't know if it is a shelter life or avoidance thinking that prevents you to become aware of how and why companies that have to earn their income by providing value succeed for so many generation and become sustainable.

middle of the mit
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 9:46pm


First, If you are so smart and educated, could you please break your comments into paragraphs. Otherwise it looks and reads like one loooong run on sentence and it is harder to reply to. Thank you for your future professionalism.

The only thing I am going to say about your first point is- How long do you think the life span is, and what do you propose we do when that time is reached? And what happens if/when something happens before the time your educated guess says it should?

[[[You must not want to be willing to accept data that is not convenient, I wonder how long it took you to believe that seatbelts actually saved lives]]]

I am not the one telling people that wearing a mask "isn't cool". Check your party affiliation when it comes to safety standards and who pushed for them.

[[[that staying the car where manufacturers like Ford, GM, and Chrysler create a place where there was/is room to live.]]

I see this in a lot of your comments. What does it mean?!?!?! If you are referring to safety and crash standards? You better read how conservatives railed against that as putting more costs on the manufacturer. Sound familiar?

[[[The reality you are unwilling to grasp is that private companies know the value of infrastructure and the successful ones budget for the continuous level to ensure sustainability, and that includes investing in new and better ways to build and maintain that infrastructure.]]]

Private companies don't budget for infrastructure! They try every trick in the book to pay less taxes into the State and Feds which TAKES AWAY FROM infrastructure. When are you going to accept reality? And if the private companies do this for their business, why do our roads fall apart faster than our surrounding States, as Matt and Kevin were so quick to try to push? They are the ones that actually build the roads.

[[[[Successful companies don't use catch phrases, like 'Fix the damn Roads', they actual do it as part of there long-term budgeting and include it in people's performance accountability.]]]]

Politicians who listen to what the citizens are complaining about use the phrase "Fix the damn roads" because that is what they hear their constituents say. It is only partisans who say the same thing but don't want to raise taxes that call what their constituents say is a "phrase".

[[[I don't know if it is a shelter life or avoidance thinking that prevents you to become aware of how and why companies that have to earn their income by providing value succeed for so many generation and become sustainable.]]]

Once again duane, I am not hammering on any company other than the ones that do wrong, have a record of gas lighting and sand bagging and going to court to NOT take care of their property.

Never forget, YOU give the pass to Boyce Hydro for the FEDS and the State NOT making him be the honest and upstanding and forthright and perfect business person that you think all business people are.



Who lives a sheltered life again?

Sat, 07/04/2020 - 9:12pm

The useable life of any equipment is determine by regular assessments of the equipment and the nature of the how it is being used. A pipeline assessment should include consideration of the pipe wall thickness, the conditions of the points of stress [welds, bends, high fluid flow points, internal/external conditions] and the nature of the materials being pumped [ph/corrosivity, nature of solids if present in the fluid, velocities, viscosity, and such. Also consideration should be made of the conditions that may impact the pipeline such as the support system, protective systems/equipment, potential extremes [freezing water, parallel pipelines and what can cause their failure and could such a failure impact the pipeline of focus, etc.]. Using that information you make no changes and simply revise the expect live or make changes as identified in operations and equipment to address concerns or you replace the system, and schedule the next process assessment [this should include a maximum time between assessments]. Part of the protocol includes a reassessment when events or conditions change or when a significant event happens at a peer company/system.
You seem to do what you claim the ‘conservatives’ do, hear from one or two of a group you distrust and then project that on to all in that group without asking. This is strongly influence by what is expected, what the stereotype being used includes. This is a common practice when people believe a command from on high [the Governor or President] is the answer to the problem. As a ‘conservative’ I lean toward the view that people need to have a choice, reasons behind each choice, and the impact of each choice [specific/personal]. In most cases personal practices, such as wearing a mask, requires a change in habits which is very difficult, so a change needs to be designed to help people to create the new habits.
The Ford and GM reference was an example of giving the reasoning behind wearing a seatbelt so people want to get that benefit rather than be frustrated by simply being told to wear the seatbelt. I try to use actual situations to offer a different perspective to help open thinking. I don’t care whose saying what, I am more about what to consider for helping the person needing to change practice want to change.
Here you go again saying all companies do things unethically, and yet when it comes to taxes this a method for lawmakers to manipulate the company practices, so why do you always imply the companies are doing illegal things? And as we have seen politicians in Detroit have been convicted of bribery and other crimes and yet you never impugn all other elected officials, that suggests you believe election to office anoints those people [well at least the Democrats] and that anyone willing to work for a profit are become tainted and immoral.
My experience has been that infrastructure such as the utilities [transformers at 12,500v, roads on the facility properties, computer networking globally, along with operating system maintenance] were a budget item on every plants books along with data gathering and technology improvements for that infrastructure, so I stand by what I have said.
I disagree with you that the public only says ‘fix the damn roads’ that are those, I have even read on Bridge, voicing disappointment of in how MDOT manage the roads, new construction, holding contractors accountable for their work, asking about why the roads fail, asked about what new technology should we be trying, about other parts of the infrastructure. People are will to pay for infrastructure when we have confidence we are getting value for our money.
You may claim you are only talking about a few but you say,” Private companies don't budget for infrastructure!,” “They try every trick in the book to pay less taxes into the State and Feds which TAKES AWAY FROM infrastructure.”
When you say, “They are the ones that actually build the roads.”, you seem to forget it is MDOT and other government agencies that write the contracts, that select those who receive the work/contracts, that approve the work and payments. I know when I spend my money on building my house I watch the work they do and point out concerns and even withhold payments until the problems are resolved, why don’t you believe that MDOT and others don’t have those same choices for road construction? I have known of private companies that held those doing work for them use such an approach to ensure the quality of work they received for their money, why shouldn’t expect governments to do that?
I thought I lived a sheltered life, now reading comments on Bridge I feel I have a much wider breadth of experience and understanding and openness to ideas then so many of those around me, around Michigan.

middle of the mit
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 2:47pm

Answering the first part of your run on sentence as simply as I can, How do you do this when everything is buried and why didn't Enbridge do this with Line 6B?

{{{{. As a ‘conservative’ I lean toward the view that people need to have a choice, reasons behind each choice, and the impact of each choice [specific/personal]. In most cases personal practices, such as wearing a mask, requires a change in habits which is very difficult, so a change needs to be designed to help people to create the new habits.}}}]

Here duane is how conservatives get around being held responsible for anything, did you see what you did when it comes to Your ACTIONS that could keep other people safe? " It is difficult and a personal decision. If wearing a mask when there is a pandemic and the EXPERTS are telling you it is the right thing to do, why do you think anything is going to stop people from doing this?


It is too difficult to pay to have it properly disposed of, Isn't that what we have always done with waste? Bury it?

Seat Belts and crash ratings and what was it that Greenie Ralph Nader was famous for in the late 1970's? None of that was done by conservatives.

duane, are you telling me and the World that conservatives think there should be more taxes for corporations? Why, don't you remember the words "Corporations don't pay taxes. they pass them onto the consumer."? Why do you not want to acknowledge your parties identifying ideology and Grover Nordquists life long quest? I NEVER implied they were doing anything illegal. I simply stated what Republicans have been pushing for legislation over the last 40 years. CUT TAXES AND REGULATIONS ON CORPORATIONS so they can be COMPETETIVE! Why do you run away from it?

I don't know who you see fixing your roads and higways but up here it is all done by Private road companies. The only thing road commissions do is fill in pot holes and some county road paving. And the reason the rates are going up for the State to pay for roads? It isn't because those companies are paying their employees more every year.

OH I fully well think there should be road warranties. I thought Republicans did that when Snyder was Governor. Are their not enough incentives or teeth to hold them accountable? And why would there be a need for warranties if they are as perfect as you claim?

Yeah duane, when you won't even acknowledge your parties Modus Operandi you are on the brink of being the most non partisan on this board.

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 10:31pm

I have no idea what Enbridge did or does, all I mentioned was what might be done.
You fail to grasp how our society has changed and how blind faith in 'leaders' knowing more, being smarter, and delegation of responsibility to the government has been rapidly declining since the late 60s. If you were to look around you would find that in the workplace people/individuals are held accountable for what they do and they have been govern the authority to take necessary actions to work safely, healthily, environmentally responsibly. Once they learn all of that they find it applies in their personal lives, so just as at work they need to be trained in not only the how, but also in the reasoning behind it so they can act according. If a person working an assembly line has the authority to stop the line, why you not expect them to have that same authority in their everyday life [whether to wear a mask [that doesn't protected them like an N95 does a medical worker]. I would be surprised that with the Covid 19 experience in northern Michigan that many resident are resistant to being force to do what is necessary in Detroit, simply because the Governor says so. The choice a person is most likely to implement is one they have made and believe in. I suspect one of the many reasons people choose to live up north is because they want to avoid as much government control as possible. I was at the park on a bright sunshiny day and watch some people playing pickleball. They never seemed to touch each other, they were outside [with unlimited uv rays], and they weren't wearing mask. Do you think their judgement was flawed or a reasonable assessment of their situation?
Are you talking about burying general waste or toxic waste? As I recall a down river community in Wayne County turn their trash into a local ski run during the winter, so from a flat City dump the create a community recreational opportunity.
As best I can tell made his reputation with a book about and ugly car and he ignored the drivers role in the activities. What are going to complain about next, that urban legend about how cell phone once cause car gas tank fires when people were pumping gas [there was no enough energy that could be released by a cell phone to reach the energy threshold to ignite gas/gasoline vapors].
Sure corporations pay taxes, the governments cash they checks with their names on them. You do realize that taxes are paid after they have earn their money. As for regulations, they are written for the ease of enforcement not the improving of performance of the regulated. There are two ways regulations cost employers money, they specify how an employer must do something without regard to whether it improves what is being regulated and it prevented the use of an alternative that was more cost effective. The second way prescriptive regulation add cost is in anticipation of new regulations. Most companies have to do their budget planning in advance of a fiscal year to try to ensure that they will have sufficient funds to pay their bills, so when an agency starts talking about a new regulation the employer that is likely affected will begin setting aside moneys for whatever is being talked about [train, change in practices, new protocols, additional reporting, enforcement visits, etc.] which takes money away from the improvement or expansion of operations. What is especially frustrating is how hard it is to explain to a regular how actual operations work. I was once involve in a visit [my employer invited them in] by OSHA writers of a confined space regulation, they were concerned about people accidently walk into an operating confined space. They saw a 6' diameter pipe [as best I can recall near 100 bolts holding it together] for the first and realized no one could accidently walk into it while it was running [the removed the requirement to paint a sign on every confined space in the facility.

Maybe they should be considering new technology when building the roads or when repairing them. In our town most of the annual repairs are to the repair and to where the road surfaces are joined. Maybe it would be better to take a bit more time and money to do better at the installation and technology. It seemed it had enough teeth, as I recall the head of MDOT under Governor Snyder admitted MDOT allowed the time period to run out before they checked the quality of work. I wonder of Governor Whitmer has learned from that and MDOT will do any better. One of my consistent concerns has been about the inadequate effort put into the quality [design, construction, maintenance] of our roads.
You still aren't listening, it has been a long time since I was a member of a Party [and then I was the Democrat Party in western Wayne County]. Today, I just try to find the one at election time is likeliest to do the least harm.

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 9:48am

Before getting into your comments; you are a strong advocate for 'northern Michigan', I struggle to understand where that begins. Since there has been so much about Wixom and Sanford lakes maybe you will help me, do you consider Wixom Lake in northern Michigan? Do you consider Sanford Lake in northern Michigan? Do you consider Gladwin county in northern Michigan? Do you consider Midland county in northern Michigan?

If the pipeline is pumping and then is suddenly stopped, it is likely full and if it is full with liquid distillates other than propane, science tells you can't stuff another gallon of liquid propane into a full pipeline especially when that pipeline is not pumping.
Science also tells us that as the level of water rise, such as in a lake, the pressure on the surrounding of the lake rise. In the case of a weakening dam wall that added water no only adds the distortion of the wall it all infuse more water into the earth wall lower the bonding affect of the soil and as the earthen wall becomes more saturated and with added pressure it is move to a fluidize condition in which is flows where the water wants to take it [down to relieve the pressure]. We commonly hear about tipping points or the old phrase about the 'straw that broke the camel's back.' The concept is that up until that point a system is able to sustain itself, but that last bit [in this case of added water] pushes the system over the tipping point. It is much like driving on snow packed roads in northern Michigan, there is a minimum of traction at low speeds, but there is a point at which one more mile/hour of speed causes a loss of traction and control. It you believe that and added couple of feet of water in Wixom Lake would not be a contributing factor to the failure of the earthen wall adjacent to the dam that you are simply denying science and looking for magic.

There you go again, saying what you want to hear and not listening to what I said. I was simply wondering how true a naturalist you are, if you see the environment as a whole and it best to protect it by preventing significant and unnecessary disruptions to it. I think Michigan environment is at least as valuable as the Canadian environment and if the environment disruption has already been done and am hard pressed to repeat that same harm simply to change where the risk is taken and possibly increase the risk of problems.
You and you compatriots have yet to identify the particular events or conditions you fear most. You seem to fail to recognize that the nature of the problems of a buried pipeline is different than that of a line submerged on the bottom of a Great Lake. What have been the causes of failures in the buried pipelines, are the different than the risks potentials for the #5 submerged in the straits?
You continue to return to you stereotype thinking, that all companies are bad and only do the right thing when regulated by government. You should read OSHA 1910.119 and learn where those practices were developed and who was the advocates for those practices, who took them around the world and the effectiveness they proved provide. In your mind those companies can not exist, but in reality they do, in this case they include a Michigan firm.

middle of the mit
Mon, 06/29/2020 - 8:37pm

I struggle to understand what or where the definition of Northern Mi is has to do with the pipeline, dam or anything else but if you want it. Most of the people up here would tell you that Northern Mi starts at a straight line across the State at Clare county so yes, Gladwin would be Northern MI but Midland would be Central MI. It's where the cities stop being so large and the rural areas make up most of the population and I don't really buy that because we still have larger towns that make up the majority of our population. Hope that helps. How? I don't know.

Now back to the topic. What is your fixation that the pipeline can't be a propane tank? Why do you think there has to be constant flow which if stopped, would blow the pipes because some company wants to keep stuffing more in? If that is the case, you better leave a faucet running so your water pipes don't blow. And why couldn't you just use that the same as they do now? Pressure regulators, room for expansion and contraction, check valves, pressure relief valves. These things already exist in other utilities. How do they do this with natural gas lines? You don't think the propane is transported by buckets to customers houses, do you? Usually if it individual delivery, they use really big propane tanks mounted on big trucks for that. And I bet they gas up near one of those pipes!

The lake. What are you trying to tell me? That I AM RIGHT! That raising the level from -3 feet to Full legal level is what caused the problem and the extra weight and corresponding failure? Why thank you. Or are you trying to say the lake should have been left at -8 feet? That is why the Lakefront owners sued! And if the State would've ignored the Court ordered legal level what do you think those same homeowners would've done? SUED AGAIN! And you are still passing the buck off of the dam owner who knew his dam was bad, and the homeowners who if they didn't believe it in 2013 they believed it when the formed the FLTF after the electric generation permit was taken away. So the private entities that had a "vested interest" in keeping the lake a lake, ALL KNEW BEFORE THE MUSSELS LAWSUIT that the dam was a risk. Enbridge knows too.

My point duane is that Canada and the US think that Canadian wilderness is more important. That line goes from Saskatchewan to Ontario through the US. Why didn't they just put a line in their own country? I would bet you are all for this Canadian company using American courts to take property from American citizens for the Keystone XL pipeline too, aren't ya?

So duane, how does steel react when it is in contact with water or dirt or worse, both? And could you tell me how you find a leak in a buried pipeline? Usually when then there has been so much of a leak that the plant life around the area dies and the ground becomes mushy?

See conservatives tell us all about voter fraud, but they can't tell us about broken pipes or environmental disasters. Why is it they can see a LOT where there is little and a little where there is a LOT? Would you like to compare the amount of oil barrels we would have with voter fraud over the barrels of oil spilled in just the last decade?

Stereotypical business hater here!~ Have you seen or heard me beating up on the local car dealer, pizza shop, mechanic, printer, hair dresser, restaurant, machine shop or anyone else? I think I reserve that for those that flaunt the rules and try to get rules made or taken away so they can dump their used oil in the sewer system or their backyard. And you give them a pass. Why?

You should know most business people hate OSHA and who started that and WHY? Why was OSHA even needed? Kids working 6-8 hours or more in meat packing plants in the early 1900's. Workers having limbs cut off or mangled.

Someone had to do something besides getting replacement employees.

Enter H1-B VISAS and those employees aren't covered under OSHA or anything. Look duane, most business people are good people. They play by the rules and the rules are skewed against them because they can't afford to play in the big leagues because they don't have the money.........but that is how the rules are written. They need to understand that they are getting the shaft by the "Incorporated class" just as much if not more than everyone else.

I sure wish they would hurry up and figure it out!

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 10:57pm

Just curious on where is northern Michigan and though the dams and lakes were close enough to help define them. I had always heard it was a line for Bay City to Muskegon, the few people I have met from Oceana, Newaygo, and Mecosta counties always seem to feel part of northern Michigan.

Even a tank needs stuff drawn off to be useable for other products. If a pipeline is filled with petroleum products that you won't let them pump [since the UP has no use for them] then how can they to fill the pipeline with propane when it is already full?

I wonder how you think they run those pipelines, many that pump multiple products may do it by sending them in blocks or by partitioning them [loading a fixed about of one product then injecting a fixed amount of a different product in which the density or viscosity is sufficiently different to prevent mixing or the may put a 'pigg' in between. And the materials are pumped or pressured down the line. Are you sure how much of those distillates expand or contract when buried below the frost line in the UP? Aside from the propane and possibly butane these may be non compressible materials and in these conditions there maybe be little or no change in density.

There are several consideration with pipes, especially when buried or submerged. One consideration is corrosion and this can be influence by ph [ dirt or the ground varies due to the nature of the minerals in the ground, it also can be changed by the water soaking into the ground and bring different mineral concentrations], another consideration is the oxygen concentration [oxygen promotes corrosion so the higher levels the rate of corrosion may change] and rain water or melting snow can bring a refreshed supply to the pipeline. There are also consideration for erosion by external and internal [since the material being pumped are petroleum products and likely to include some paraffins the risk is naturally lower then even water. I would expect there are more factors present that would contribute to a pipeline corrosion in the ground then in the water. The nature of Lakes Huron and Michigan make variations in ph highly unlikely, similarly the oxygen level should be held fairly constant, and without those constant changes the pipeline conditions are much more stable, predictable, and easier to manage.

I don't know how Enbridge operates this pipeline, but the 'piggs' I mention can be loaded up with instrumentational that measure pipe wall thickness [AI can be used to track the changes trigger actions], they may measure liquid flow and patterns such as eddies and flow gradients, the can use acoustics, they measure temperatures, there are many instruments they can use to profile the pipeline [pipes. flows, etc.]. They can also have regular signal location to send the information in packers. There could be set up to capture data signals from fixed location instruments along the pipeline.

I am not a fan of government taking the land from anyone, do recall more than a few years ago GM talked about building a plant out by Metror Airport so [I believe it was the City of Ecorse] took the land from local resident for GM and to whose surprise the plant was never built. I recall a similar case in Rhode Island, the law says it is an American government agency can do not a private company or foreign government so to say it was Canada taking private American's land may not be the facts, they may have only showed an interest and the local politicians did the rest. And as best I can recall you are and advocate of government judgment/control.

I don't know what you are talking about when you say a little and a LOT and a LOT and a little. As for environmental events or other unplanned events, I always want to see people have a conversation about how to prevent them from happening again and mitigating the potential consequence. I was fortunate to have an employer that believed strongly in learning from history and they provide special training for risk management [both process and personal] to teach the thinking behind the practices/protocols, these included detailed description both of company events and non company events, this is the way the company develop a safety record they are proud of and others acknowledge.

The OSHA and any other regulating agency is a value, they can be/should be the repository of the best availabel knowledge of practices and experience. The flaw in all of those agencies is when they write their rules they are always based on long past history and seldom include current knowledge, they write their rules for ease of enforcement and not for improving performance. The politicians like this as do the media and I suspect people such as yourself because it provides and "I Gotcha" score to beat them about the head and shoulders with.
The real purpose of those agencies and their regulation should be to help the organizations they regulate improve their perform, make the work place safer and healthier, improve our environment, improve the sustainability of the regulated organizations. You are a perfect example of the failure in regulations, all you can see and talk about is failure, all you can see is failure, so all you believe is failure. As far as you are concerned their is no such thing as success in private industry, I doubt you can name 3 companies with safety/health/environmental success and what they have done to achieve it. The reality is that if you only look for failure you only see failure, and you forget how to succeed. I have mentioned to you OSHA 1910.119 [PSM/RPM] [I doubt you have read any of it], but the point her it is a performance standard one of the very few in any regulation, it is the knowledge of the largest five companies at the time it was formalized, it is the key principles to the safe operation of highly hazardous materials. When that rule was finalized companies large and small, even governments around the world had a point of best practices for set of hazards they did not know how to regulate. I worked for one of those companies and learned what they got out of it, a 6 week long inspection based on that regulation trigger by a complain from a state agency [not Michigan] because his staff could not find anything to fine the company site for, the OSHA inspection could find any violations either, but he tied up the staff both management and operating technicians for those 6 weeks. They thought like you if they are big they must be doing it by breaking rules, in this case they helped make the rules. Get over yourself and decide where you want things to get better or you want them to always seem bad. Your comments of how bad things are and why we need OSHA reaches back over 100 years and talks about child labor that was address with laws written over 50 years before OSHA. When do you accept this is the 21st century and we can improve from where we are today and don't need to keep justifying what is already done. My reality is different from yours, I have been trained what was the realites of the 40s, 50s, 60s, and watch events since then, I also read and heard about the conditions and knowledge in earlier times, and what I have learned my career is about making the future better by building on the success we are using today.

middle of the mit
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 11:03pm


Well, you started good with paragraphs, then you fell back into the old habit.

The northern MI line is what I would call a subjective truth. Those you know prefer to be acquainted with the North as opposed to central MI or worse yet "the cities" because they are full of liberals. Granted they are mostly bunched up with the rest of northern MI and the UP for voting districts. Maybe that is why?

There is no need to have continuous pumping in the UP. Let them rebuild the new line in Canada, plug the line before the straights. Then there already has to be in place : pressure regulators, check valves, pressure relief valves. If this company is what you say it is, those things should already be there. There also should be a gauge like most people who have a propane tank have, telling them the amount of propane they have. They are told to call before it reaches 15%. Do you not think Enbridge knows how to do this? If they don't, I would stop putting so much faith in them RIGHT NOW!

If they only use the line for propane, because they build a new one in Canada, your point is moot.

Yeah, and so you admit that the pipes are in the worst environment for steel to be in and where are pipes the most apt to leak at? Connections baby! Connections. I wonder how many there are in MI?

Why didn't any of this instrumentation and technology catch the line 6B spill? How did they get this tech on these pipes if they have been buried since for 67 years?

I noticed you never said if you were for or against the Keystone XL pipeline. Could you please confirm or deny? ME? Government judging or controlling? Aren't you the one that is blaming the State and the Feds for the Private owner of a dam not taking care of his property and eschewing their oversight? I only believe in it because Government is no better or worse than the people you elect to it. You give free pass to flaunters and polluters and go out of your way to make excuses so those people shouldn't have the oversight, but them blame those who say "WAIT a minute!"


I mean that you see a LOT of voter fraud when there is LITTLE and you see LITTLE environmental damage when there is a LOT!


[[[[The OSHA and any other regulating agency is a value, they can be/should be the repository of the best availabel knowledge of practices and experience. The flaw in all of those agencies is when they write their rules they are always based on long past history and seldom include current knowledge, they write their rules for ease of enforcement and not for improving performance]]]

[[[I always want to see people have a conversation about how to prevent them from happening again and mitigating the potential

Aren't these two statements contradictory? What you want is to have a conversation AFTER THE FACT, about how to stop what already happened in the future, but when cost/savings benefits come into factor we end up having the same AFTER THE FACT conversation time and time and time and time again. OSHA or the law usually doesn't work BEFORE THE FACT, they take action AFTER THE FACT. That is what law agencies do.

[[[The real purpose of those agencies and their regulation should be to help the organizations they regulate improve their perform, make the work place safer and healthier, improve our environment, improve the sustainability of the regulated organizations. You are a perfect example of the failure in regulations, all you can see and talk about is failure, all you can see is failure, so all you believe is failure]]]

Why should ANY Government have to HELP ANY PRIVATE BUSINESS keep their employees safe, keep the environment safe or the place where they do business safe? This is the key thing YOU FAIL TO UNDERSTAND.

Sun, 07/05/2020 - 12:47am

I don't have enough information to comment on events in Enbridge and the operations of other organizations.
Currently the pipeline is in operations, to end it or to change its use to a very small uses product maybe be both more costly than you expect and require significant modifications to sustain it safety for such low usage.
There are much worse environments that being buried, there are chemicals that are very corrosive to steel, or like chlorine that with ppm of water will create sufficient acid that the pipe will be corroded quickly but is safe as long as the chlorine is dry. The issue is how the environment addressed. Consider your hot water heater, the water is always changing so it is always corroding, with the inclusion of a cathode in the tank extends the operation life of the tank by years. It is about risk management.
The instrumentation could be built into the ‘piggs’ they can use to inspect the lines, instruments can be attached externally, use depends on the nature of the instrumentation.
I don’t know enough about the need for the pipeline, but I would suspect that they did an economic evaluation to justification for the investment.
There you go again trying to put words into my mouth,” You give free pass to flaunters and polluters and go out of your way to make excuses so those people shouldn't have the oversight”. I keep mentioning an OSHA/EPA rule that I believe in have talked about how a private company help train compliance office how to enforce it so why do you say I don’t believe in oversight? In fact believe in true transparency that those being regulated and government agencies so do regular self-assessment and make those available to those third parties responsible for oversight.
It seems you see a LOT of environmental damage from #5 when there has been no release in 67 years so who is the violator of your lot/little rule?
What other purpose can a government agency have than to help its citizens to prosper, to be safe, to be educated, and to help them find opportunities to pursue their happiness? I believe it is better to prevent the loss of a life then to simply fine and employer for having a dead employee. What better way than to be the repository of the current best practices, and a way to gather that information is to host conversations of those that are working on such problems and situations? Regulatory agencies start the writing of all regulation to write the rule to ensure ease of enforceability. I believe the primary purpose they should have is the improvement of performance of those being regulated. It is the difference in playing ‘I Gotcha’ and improving performance, the difference between blaming and preventing a reoccurrence. I do not believe in wasting effort on placing blame, all that does is distract and inhibit fact finding and preventing a reoccurrence or a similar events in other situations.

Another experience I have had is to see that there are people working on problems the government has yet to recognize. The government could be an effective repository of people’s experiences without making those sharing their experience libel for providing such information. I know of one regulation the OSHA proposed and employer had document history of having been working on the problem for 50 years, and that 50 years of experienced showed OSHA’s proposal was overly restrictive and less effective. An effective way to improve safety and other results impacted by human behavior is integrate it into normal activities rather then make it a layer on top of current practices, and frame is so it improves current practices.

middle of the mit
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 3:45pm


After replying with 6 comments telling us all he has the information that we need to know that Enbridge is a safe company, what are the first words?

[[[I don't have enough information to comment on events in Enbridge and the operations of other organizations.]]]]


And then duane tells us all about the things he says he doesn't know.

Instead duane, you want OSHA to rely on private companies yet you can't tell us why these private companies that don't do it right didn't do it right. Ask your representative how they feel about OSHA. Heck, the next time you're any store of any kind ask the owner their feelings. Don't be surprised if I am right.

duane, it's not that I see a lot of environmental damage from Line 5, I see a company that has a horrible track record of keeping up with it's already extensive pipeline system that is scattered across OUR nation.


[[[But just last year, Jay Dee was one of three plaintiffs sued in Macomb circuit court for negligence in connection with the infamous Fraser sinkhole collapse in 2016.

The complaint was filed last April and remains open. The Macomb County drainage district is seeking $70 million dollars plus costs and attorney fees to recover some of the costs of the Dec. 24, 2016. incident.

The sinkhole opened when a sewer line collapsed between Hayes and Utica near 15 Mile Road. The incident closed a portion of 15 Mile for nearly a year, temporarily displaced more than 20 families, and led to two homes being demolished.

Additionally, in 1999, Jay Dee was part of a joint venture contracted by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to build a 1.23-mile deep-level rock tunnel which would have extended a sewer “outfall” system from the department’s treatment plant and under the Detroit River.

This project called Detroit River Outfall-2, or DRO-2, was never completed. All work came to a halt once the tunnel flooded with groundwater “to a level of impossible recovery” in April 2003. The company’s contract with the department (PC-709) was subsequently terminated.

A later attempt to proceed with a modified version of the failed project under a different contractor and plug a portion of the flooded tunnel was also ultimately abandoned.]]]

[[[What other purpose can a government agency have than to help its citizens to prosper, to be safe, to be educated, and to help them find opportunities to pursue their happiness? I believe it is better to prevent the loss of a life then to simply fine and employer for having a dead employee.]]]

Yes duane, Every Government should do that. But why should they have to save employees from dying when that is the job of the employer? And thanks for being so glib about simple fines for having a dead employee. How did that employee end up dead? So should there be blame placed anywhere once an employee dies or is hurt on the job, or do we just say the past is the past and we move on to figuring out how to not have that happen as long as it doesn't cost too much? Remember cost/benefit analysis? Dead and injured employees are part of that.

This is why I said that Law agencies are always working from after the fact. They are not megalomaniacal All knowing behemoths that most corporations are. Yet they get the blame for what they aren't allowed to have; the power to stop private entities that you have now acknowledged NEED to be overseen.

P.S. You still didn't tell us whether or not you are for a foreign company using American Courts to take private property from American citizens for a pipeline.

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 6:08pm

Are you sure you're not a 'progressive'? You never listen to what is said/written, and always claim it is what you want to hear.
The reality is that is it a rare time when the government operation has actually been doing what they are regulating. For the longest time the government had been exempted from the regulation they wrote, those the government regulates has always been addressing the events and issues that are to be regulate, so why wouldn't you want to listen to those that have been successful to learn the issues/problems and how to address them?
I seems you would rather have every employer to have to learn every risk and have to start from a blank page to firgure out how to address each risk, I think government regulations can be a repository of the best practices [something they seldom do today] providing a quick and easy way for [new] employers can learn quickly.
I doubt you can recall a single private company that has [using your safety/health/environmental expectations] done anything right.
I wonder why you would want a tunnel [something similar to a pipeline] that is to contain a pipeline you want to capture any releases from the pipeline, it seem to be another means for detecting a leak/failure, the water could be over pressured so the water would leak into the if there was a failure and prevent the pipe leak out.
As for a foreign company status in the courts is decided by the courts. It seems the best way to ensure they are not exempt from US laws is by giving them status in the courts

middle of the mit
Thu, 07/09/2020 - 8:36pm

Yes duane, I am a progressive democratic liberal. But it is conservatives that don't listen. And that is why I changed parties after we declared an unending war on an ideology that can't be extinguished.

duane, you keep telling us that business people are the smartest in the room and will do whatever is necessary to stay in business. Even if it puts their employees at risk........and then they blame the employees.


Ohh! Tangible proof of what I say is correct! Coming from employers no less!

Are you sure you want to do this? OK.

The Government is not a business, and they should NEVER act like one. I thought you believed that there should be educated people in Government that know hydrology, infrastructure and engineering and safety standards that have been evaluated and perfected over the years to protect against death, dismemberment and injury. I guess I "misinterpreted" what you were saying?

[[[I seems you would rather have every employer to have to learn every risk and have to start from a blank page to firgure out how to address each risk, I think government regulations can be a repository of the best practices [something they seldom do today] providing a quick and easy way for [new] employers can learn quickly.]]]

Hey uber conservative! Isn't that what employers should do to keep THEIR STAFF SAFE? Isn't that what corporate unions are for? Oh wait! I am sorry. When paper people unionize they call it associations. The Government can't do that today because there are not enough employees, time or money. Thank Grover for that!

[[[I doubt you can recall a single private company that has [using your safety/health/environmental expectations] done anything right.]]]

Can you point to any of my posts that will confirm what you just said? As a matter of fact, when have you ever offered citations of what you say is correct?

If you don't like the idea of a tunnel, and your response to my earlier post which contained a FAILURE of a tunnel in YOUR area, who is to blame for that? Do you see the exercise that I have to do with you? The pipeline IS damaged, you can't give us a timeline when the pipeline will decay to the point of failure or tell us that your tech and algorithms are in use or how they stopped other failures but it seems as though you are willing for that failure to happen and screw the consequences. And you wonder why I said you give those companies a pass? Otherwise............Give us YOUR solution that doesn't just let them keep going without any upgrades. Because that is all you have offered.

Hey! I will give you credit for this! At least you admit that Foreign Corporations should have MORE RIGHTS than American Citizens!! Unless you think that paper people don't have more rights than flesh and blood people.

I bid you adieu!

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 10:51pm

I don't claim businesses have the smartest people, I have met smart government and not for profit people. The difference is the culture. Businesses are much more likely/practiced at rewarding/acknowledging innovation/invention/progress, government is about avoiding accountability demonstrate they followed the long established practices, the not for profit is about following past practices.
I don't blame people, I consistently say I don't blame and you talk regularly about blame, why, what value does blame create for preventing or mitigating an event in the future?
I offer proof, I have referenced OSHA PSM, EPA RMP, time and again and you never seem to make any effort to read them part. So why should I invest my time in culling through articles to offer you a citation, no matter what it says it will never cause you to pause for a moment to consider it.
Until we meet again.

Sun, 06/28/2020 - 8:51am

Them republicans supporters of the pipe line do not want people to remember that last time a SAFE Enbridge Energy pipe leaked in Michigan!!! And the right wing courts ruled that the State had to pay for the clean up!!!
And that NONE of the oil or gas stays in MI it goes to Canada! and ALL workers are from Canada NOT the USA!!!!
So as usual that republicans are lying !!!

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 8:33am

Instead of delaying and trying to shut down Line 5, the State should be pushing full steam ahead to get the pipeline into a dry, lighted tunnel 100 feet BELOW the lowest part of the Straits. An inspector could monitor the line comfortably for 12 months of the year, cameras could provide continuous monitoring, and 1 tiny drop of leakage could be spotted. Any rupture of the line would be contained in the tunnel, and easily repaired. Instead, we have people in charge who have no care at all for the economic impact of a permanent closure. Would they rather the oil and other products be transported by rail or truck? Ask the residents of a tiny town in Quebec province how that worked out.

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 9:10am

Why doesn't Enbridge do this then? Because they want profits, not costs and want us to foot the bill for all construction, maintenance and cleanup when there's a spill.

Enbridge is incredibly arrogant and ignores the risks. Because they know they've shielded their money with LLCs and know we'll end up paying the costs when there's a spill.

It's long past time we tell Enbridge to pay their own costs. They're just like those Midland dam owners.

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 2:29pm

Is this satire?

You do know about the tunnel project Enbridge has applied to begin construction on next year? The one paid for with $500 million in private investment? The one that Governor Whitmer and AG Nessel are fighting to stop?

That one?

middle of the mit
Fri, 06/26/2020 - 10:46pm

If the pipeline isn't damaging the environment, let the Canadians put it on their land.

Problems? Why wouldn't a Canadian company NOT want it's pipelines in their own country? And if they don't.........Aren't you questioning why they don't?

YOU should be!

middle of the mit
Fri, 06/26/2020 - 11:14pm

I will only agree to this if the tunnel is big enough for at least 2 lanes, preferably 4 lanes inside that tunnel. A traffic tunnel over the pipes.

That is what I would call terms for.


200 ft below the lowest level of the Straits. I tend to make things,...stronger than they need to be, unless the specifications say I shouldn't. WE should make things twice as strong as the private company says they should be also! Especially when it comes to OUR Great Lakes!

And let Enbridge pay for it. It should be less than what they would have to pay for a spill. Or will this be another dam situation? (pun intended)

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 8:28am

So now you want a private company to build a un-needed 4 tunnel (unjustifiable by any traffic counts) as a price for moving their pipeline to measurably safer location? Sounds like you just want to delay everything for years in court while oil continues to flow (with albeit minuscule risk).

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 1:46pm

Even if the people of Michigan would let them build the tunnels, there is no reason to allow Enbridge to keep using the old broken one in the meantime. Just shut it down before it's too late.

middle of the mit
Mon, 06/29/2020 - 9:15pm


Private companies want the citizens to pay for ALL of the infrastructure of the State that they themselves use more than the citizens. They do this by asking for tax breaks, regulatory relief and tax credits that hurt our local schools and infrastructure and put the costs on us. If a foreign company wants to by pass and save their pristine wilderness, I would think they should pay a premium for doing so. A two lane highway within the tunnel isn't that much to pay for when it saves your wilderness, is it? Heck, I would even be open to allowing them to charge a toll, especially if they made it four lanes. It's not that it is unjustified Matt, it is if there is going to be something done this big, why not plan for the future? There are people who don't like crossing Bridges like the Mackinaw. Heck, there are people who don't like going over the Zilwaukee Bridge. And this way traffic would never be impeded because of ice or high winds. It's just thinking ahead.

And at least you understand how the dams were left to rot and decay and fail by the court battles between the private owner and the lakefront owners.

What do you think is happening to that pipeline? Here is an experiment. You can do it this summer. Find a small piece of thick metal. Paint it with as many coats of paint as you care to. I know it's not the fancy paint that Corporations use, so I would suggest buying a couple cans of good enamel paint. Then bury it. Dig it up in October or better yet next year and find out what you get. Extrapolate that to 67 years. Why do you conservatives always think that everything will work in perpetuity like a perpetual motion machine until it doesn't?

Stephan Nason
Sat, 06/27/2020 - 9:59am

Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac was completed in 1953 (67 years ago). How long is/was the line expected to last before it's useful life time is over due to the natural effects of the environment on the pipeline? When did Enbridge start looking at a replacement like the tunnel and when is it projected the tunnel will be completed?

leonard page
Sun, 06/28/2020 - 10:05am

line 5 pumps 540 thousand barrels (not gallons) of western canada's oil product daily to sarnia for the canadian market and export. only 6% stays in michigan. 1300 barrels a day on average are stripped out as rapid river in the UP for about 1300 Yooper customers. 33,000 barrrels of light crude go daily to detroit marathon thus providing about 1.5% of Michigan's gasoline needs. two studies, dynamic risk alternative study of 2017 and london economics internation study of 2018 say that shutting down line 5 would mean only pennies a gallon in retail price increases for gasoline and propane. line 5 has already leaked 33 times spilling over 1.1 million gallons. mich tech study of 2018 estimates a worst case spill of 2.5 million gallons. UM Schwab study estimates over 700 miles of shoreline would be oiled. why take the slightest risk to our greatest natural resource to get canadian oil to sarnia? now for the proposed tunnel which has no completion date. it is now set to be 20 feet in diameter and almost 5 miles long. every 5th day, the pipeline in the tunnel would be pumping highly flammable natural gas liquids at the rate of 540,000 barrels a day. a leak in a confined space like a tunnel would become the world's largest pipe bomb connected to st. ignace and mackinaw city. this is a safer alternataive????

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 11:10pm

Are you a progressive? It seems you disregard any reason or science to justify you point of view.

You start by ignoring the context of the pipeline and the whole of events to achieve your view. You seem to use only today's number for pipeline usage, for market share, for product demand [what is pumped through the pipeline]. You conveniently forget when the pipeline was decided on, the data included in the decision of where to lay the pipeline and what to pump through it. I suspect that the decision to construct the pipeline was made about 70 years ago when the market place was much different [the source of petroleum was smaller, the means of delivering the products were less reliable, and that influences why the pipeline is where it is and how difficult it would be to remove the current pipeline and replace the pipeline with such a significantly different location.
What is driving you to create such an environmental impact across northern Michigan and Canada is the slightest risk that there could be a release from the pipeline [you ignore the fact that in over 67 years no release even of the smallest amount has happened. And you nor anyone else with similar fears have yet to identify an event or condition that would/could create the ever so slight risk. If we applied you approach to live and we should not get out of bed if there is ever the slightest risk we maybe injured we would never get out of bed, we would never live. We know there is a proven risk of airplanes crashing and yet last year we were longing millions of passenger miles crisscrossing the country in airplanes. Similarly, the data indicates plane travel is safer than car travel and yet we on average have two cars per household people are travelling millions of miles each year. So you seem to be putting you risk tolerance/lack of risk acceptance above that of the American people and you make no effort to describe the events that could create the risk fear and the the people should support.

Let's talk about how you reject science and want it to be magic. You talk about the tunnel will be the 'largest bomb' because it could contain 'natural gas liquids', but isn't that true of many pipelines across the country/world? If the tunnel cold contain so much 'natural gas liquids' wouldn't they all have to come from the pipeline and would that mean that as long as the pipeline was pumping such materials it was such a bomb and yet when did that 'bomb' ever go off? Do you want to talk about what it would take to detonate the 'bomb' or how the tunnel could be similar and have the same experience?

You mention the UM Schwab study, I would if they ever consider you fear of the 'natural gas liquids' and included them in their 700 miles of shoreline impact. You do realize for you 'bomb' to explode it would consume all of the liquids and the risk of shoreline contaminate approaches nil. I would what that study identified as that cause of the release that would contaminate that 700 miles and if they considered any mitigating events or preventive actions or did they assume that everyone just stood around watching things go to hell with no ever to stop them.
I ask again are you a 'progressive', do you only look for thing that you can claim the 'sky is falling' or do you ever ask how can we solve a problem? The reality society has be working with highly hazardous materials longer than the pipeline has be in use and those people have developed the means and methods for identifying the risks, analyzing the risks, and managing the risks for longer than that pipeline has been in service.

I am not one to ignore the risks, but I do believe in the people with the knowledge and skills can manage the risk and prevent your worst fears from ever happening, and allowing all the funds you want to spend be redirected to more socially beneficial uses [such as educating the next generation of engineers and science that will be advancing risk management].

middle of the mit
Thu, 07/09/2020 - 8:46pm

[[[I am not one to ignore the risks, but I do believe in the people with the knowledge and skills can manage the risk and prevent your worst fears from ever happening, and allowing all the funds you want to spend be redirected to more socially beneficial uses [such as educating the next generation of engineers and science that will be advancing risk management].]]]

I'll take that bet!

You are betting that the money saved by not having oversight won't result in any problems what so ever, and that money will go to schools.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!


Mon, 06/29/2020 - 1:50pm

Vulcan, Michigan! Is this really about Michigan or Wisconsin?