UPDATE: The Michigan Senate has passed legislation to facilitate a deal for the replacement of a contentious Great Lakes oil pipeline.
The Republican-sponsored bill approved 25-13 on mostly party lines Wednesday would create a new three-member authority to oversee the construction and operation of the utility tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac, the convergence between Lakes Michigan and Huron. The tunnel would house a new pipeline.
Lawmakers scrapped a plan to have the existing Mackinac Bridge Authority handle the functions.
Gov. Rick Snyder, whose administration cut the deal with Line 5 operator Enbridge, would appoint the members of the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority. He is trying to finalize the agreement before he leaves office.
ORIGINAL STORY: Michigan regulators have issued a permit that allows more anchor supports to bolster twin oil pipelines in the Great Lakes at the Straits of Mackinac.
The Department of Environmental Quality announced the update Tuesday.
Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge had asked the DEQ to allow 48 additional supports for its Line 5 pipes. They’ll be attached to the pipes and screwed into the lakebed.
Line 5 extends from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. A section runs beneath the straits, where lakes Huron and Michigan converge. The company made requests to install supports after gaps were discovered beneath the pipes. The DEQ earlier granted a permit for 22 supports.
The update comes as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder works to finalize an agreement with Enbridge to replace Line 5’s underwater segment.