Enbridge ordered to retrieve 15,000-lb. anchor from Straits of Mackinac
An Enbridge contractor working in the Straits of Mackinac abandoned a 15,000-pound anchor on the lakebottom Wednesday, but the incident took place hundreds of feet from Line 5 and caused no damage, state environmental regulators announced Friday.
Enbridge alerted the state to the abandoned anchor on Wednesday night, and state environmental regulators have ordered the company to retrieve it, according to a state release.
“The agency continues to gather facts and information on the matter,” the release states.
- Fish, propane, cash: Not everyone loves Enbridge generosity in the Straits
- Army Corps decision could tack years onto Enbridge Line 5 tunnel timeline
- Is the Line 5 tunnel a bridge to Michigan’s energy future or a bad deal?
Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy told Bridge Michigan the anchor disconnected from its cable while work barges were doing seasonal maintenance work in the Straits. The company’s safety protocols prohibit crews from anchoring within 500 feet of the dual-span pipeline.
“When they went to adjust it, it detached,” Duffy said. “We called (the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy) and told them about it and let them know we’re retrieving it.”
The incident sparked outcry from Line 5 opponents, who see it as more evidence that the pipeline isn’t safe. Environmentalists have long warned that the dual-span petroleum pipeline, which sits exposed in the Straits, poses an unacceptable risk of an oil spill.
The 68-year-old pipeline has repeatedly sustained damage from anchor strikes in recent years, and Enbridge has been criticized for being slow to report those incidents to state officials.
Sean McBrearty, campaign coordinator for the anti-Line 5 group Oil & Water Don’t Mix, said in a statement that Wednesday’s incident “shows once again that there’s no safe way to operate oil pipelines in the Straits.”
Michigan Environment Watch
Michigan Environment Watch examines how public policy, industry, and other factors interact with the state’s trove of natural resources.
Michigan Health Watch is made possible by generous financial support from:
Our generous Environment Watch underwriters encourage Bridge Michigan readers to also support civic journalism by becoming Bridge members. Please consider joining today.
See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:
- “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
- “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
- “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.
If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!