Sen. Gary Peters, Enbridge releases statement on shutting down Line 5 operations

FILE - This Feb. 11, 2014 aerial file photo shows a view of the Mackinac Bridge, which spans a 5-mile-wide freshwater channel called the Straits of Mackinac that separates Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. Officials say hundreds of gallons of potentially toxic coolant fluid have leaked from electric power cables in the waterway that links Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. (Keith King/Traverse City Record-Eagle via AP, Pool, File)

Senator Gary Peters made a statement this afternoon on Enbridge's decision to suspend all Line 5 operations after damages from a possible anchor strike caused three minor dents in the underwater line that transports oil and natural gas.

Peters, in addition to Senator Debbie Stabenow, called for Enbridge's decision to suspend operation on Friday after noting the uncertainty of the pipe's integrity.

“It is simply reckless and irresponsible to operate Line 5 under the current weather conditions in the Straits of Mackinac. I was able to work with PHMSA Administrator Elliott in pressing Enbridge to take the right action and suspend Line 5 operations through the storm," Peters said in a press release. "Not only do we lack a clear understanding of the damage to Line 5, but the on-site response equipment available is completely inadequate to clean a potential oil spill under current conditions, putting the Great Lakes in grave - and unnecessary - danger.”

Enbridge released a response shortly thereafter, saying how the line was temporarily shut down due to a power outage, but the company opted to stay shut down due to weather conditions.

"Out of an abundance of caution, Enbridge will be electing to leave the line down until the weather conditions improve at the Straits," Ryan Duffy, a spokesperson for Enbridge, said in an email sent to our sister station, WPBN. "Enbridge takes the safety of the environment and our pipelines very seriously. We understand the sensitive environment in which Line 5 operates. The Great Lakes are a treasure that must be protected. We are continuing to monitor the conditions and provide updates to the State, Coast Guard and PHMSA. We will restart as soon as possible."

An underwater inspection is planned to take place early next week. According to the Associated Press, Line 5 carries a near 23 million gallons (87 million liters) of crude oil and liquefied natural gas between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario on a daily basis.


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