Army Corps of Engineers takes comment on Line 5 tunnel

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WLNS) – The Army Corps of Engineers held a virtual public hearing today on the proposed tunnel to house the Line 5 twin oil pipelines.

Those are the pipelines that run along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac between the Upper Peninsula and the Mitten. They are vulnerable to damage from passing ships and have experienced support problems due to a shifting lake bed. Critics, including politicians and environmental groups, worry that the pipelines could lead to a catastrophic oil spill on the Great Lakes.

Enbridge Energy, which owns the pipelines, says they have operated safely for 60 years. The company has proposed a $500m tunnel through the bedrock below the straits, which would house the pipelines and protect them from damage. The Corps heard arguments for and against the tunnel project today and will continue accepting written comments through December 17th.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced this fall that the 1953 easement that allows Line 5 to operate would be canceled next year, shutting down Line 5 permanently. Enbridge has sued to prevent that action.

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