MACKINAW CITY, MI (WLNS) – Two pipelines that move nearly 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas through the Straits of Mackinac are the focus of protests scheduled for tomorrow in Mackinaw City. The protests are set to begin at 2:00 p.m. as the annual Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Mackinac Policy Conference opens on Mackinac Island.
The pipeline, known as Line 5, is operated by Enbridge. The company has recently settled with the State of Michigan for fines in connection with an oil spill 5 years ago on the Kalamazoo River. In that settlement Enbridge agreed to pay $75 million in fines, cleanup and reconstruction costs.
According to the Sierra Club, a failure on Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline would be catastrophic. The pipeline runs from Superior, WI to Sarnia, Ontario and a University of Michigan study claimed that a million-gallon oil spill in the Straits could send a oil slick from Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island to Rogers City in northern Lake Huron.
Oil pipelines in the state are being reviewed by the Michigan Petroleum Task Force. That group is headed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant.