MPSC takes a step back in its review of the Line 5 tunnel project


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Michigan Public Service Commission has ordered a new schedule and hearing to consider the proposed tunnel project for the Line 5 twin oil pipelines.

Those are the pipelines that run below the Straits of Mackinac. Right now, they sit on the sediment in open water, making them vulnerable to damage from passing ships and support problems from a shifting lake bed. Critics worry the pipelines could potentially lead to a catastrophic oil spill on the Great Lakes, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced plans to revoke the 1953 easement that allows Line 5 to operate.

Enbridge Energy, which owns the pipelines, says they have been operating safely for 60 years, and the proposed tunnel project would make them even safer. The Public Service Commission would need to sign off on that project, and has been reviewing it since April.

The Commission announced today that portions of that process need to be done again because of the governor’s plan to revoke the Line 5 easement. It says those earlier steps were made on the assumption that the easement would still be in effect, and the commission needs to consider the possibility that it would not.

Enbridge has filed legal action to block the governor from revoking that easement.

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