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DEQ allows for more support anchors for oil pipelines

Mar 27, 2018

Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

State officials have given Enbridge Energy permission to install 22 more anchor supports along twin pipelines at the bottom of the waterway linking Lakes Michigan and Huron.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued a permit last week allowing the supports for Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. Installing the additional anchor supports will minimize the span distance within the Straits of Mackinac.

According to the DEQ press release, each of the 22 anchors will be installed using 10-inch diameter screws with a total lake bottom impact of nine cubic yards.

Enbridge says it's a "proactive" step to fasten the pipelines to the lake bottom and keep them in place when currents erode dirt beneath them.

The underwater pipes are part of a line that carries 23 million gallons of crude oil daily between Superior, Wisconsin and Sarnia, Ontario.

The Line 5 straits already has 128 support anchors, with four installed in October and November 2016.

Environmentalist groups that want the 65-year-old pipelines decommissioned say the extra supports won't make Line 5 safe or prevent a catastrophic spill.

In full disclosure, Enbridge Energy is a financial supporter of Michigan Radio.