After a June line inspection, Enbridge has 90 days to install more anchor supports on the twin Line 5 oil pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac. MLive reports that Michigan posted a notice to the company last week, stating that the pipeline was in violation of its 63-year old easement.
According to the 1953 document, Line 5 must keep anchor supports across gaps greater than 75 feet. As the lakebed erodes and shifts over time, those gaps can shift or widen. The June report indicated Enbridge found four locations with gaps greater than 75 feet. To amend the problem, Enbridge applied with the MDEQ on August 1 to install 19 new screw anchor supports, four of which will fix the gaps and the other 15 for “preventative maintenance.”
The new supports would follow 2014’s installation of 40 new supports, after which Enbridge stated in correspondence that its “predictive maintenance model” would not allow for anchor gaps over 75 feet to happen going forward. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, MDEQ director Heidi Grether, and DNR director Keith Creagh co-signed a violation letter on August 3 demanding to know why the maintenance model failed to deliver its promise.
Though Enbridge inspects Line 5 every two years (more frequently than legally necessary), the violation letter called for a new maintenance plan that “should included, as needed, increased inspection frequency.”