Environmental group wants public hearing for Line 5 anchors

Enbridge: Damaged oil pipeline was dented less than 1 inch.

EMMET COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Environmental groups are expressing concerns about recent dents made in Enbridge's Line 5, as well as new supports the pipeline company is planning to install below the Straits of Mackinac.

“Anchor strikes are a significant cause for concern," said Gail Gruenwald, the executive director of the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.

Enbridge said Line 5 was dented, but tests and inspections haven't shown any sign of cracks or ruptures.

“There was no damage to the structural integrity of Line 5," said Ryan Duffy, an Enbridge spokesperson. "We did find those three dents on the line though, so we are putting together plans to make reinforcing repairs in those areas.”

Groups like Tip of the Mitt in Petoskey are calling for a public hearing after Enbridge recently applied to add 48 new support anchors to the pipeline.

“The watershed council has called for a public hearing on this and an extended public comment period for a couple of reasons," Gruenwald said. "One, this is a pretty high profile, significant permit application, and number two, we really don’t know if in fact the last time anchors, support anchors were put in, that it didn’t have an impact and cause the holidays or coating problems that have been on the pipeline.”

Enbridge already plans to install 22 of the anchors this summer. The anchors are large steel brackets that are drilled into the ground.

The company says they haven't caused any problems so far.

“We’ve had good success using these support anchors," Duffy said. "They hold the line securely in place, and they’re a big part of the safety work we do on Line 5."

For now, chances for public comment on Enbridge putting in more anchors will end May 27.

Enbridge having to install support anchors is part of a consent decree with the U.S. government implemented after a pipeline spill in Marshall, Michigan.

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