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Congressman Dave Trott

Representing the 11th District of Michigan

Trott, Dingell Urge EPA to Expedite Review of Enbridge Line 5 Inspection Schedule

February 24, 2017
Press Release
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representatives David Trott (MI-11) and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt urging him to expedite review of Enbridge's work plan and inspection schedule for the Line 5 Pipeline that runs between the Straits of Mackinac in northern Michigan. The work plan lists numerous locations on the pipeline where the protective coating may be weakening or missing. EPA must approve the plan this spring in order for the inspections to move forward this year.
 
"As you know, 23 million gallons of oil flow through the two pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac every day. A spill in that location would have a devastating impact on the Great Lakes and the economy of the surrounding states" the Representatives wrote. "On September 27, 2016, Enbridge identified several potential 'holidays' on the pipeline where there may be a loss of protective coating around the pipe. We urge you to review Enbridge's work plan in an expedited fashion so these vulnerabilities can be investigated as soon as possible."
 
In 2010, an Enbridge-operated pipeline ruptured and spilled an estimated one million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River. As a consequence of that leak and other concerns, the EPA reached a signed consent decree with Enbridge. Under the agreement, Enbridge is required to conduct an investigation into how aquatic species are impacting the integrity of additional pipelines under their control. The Line 5 Pipeline is of particular concern due to the potential loss of protective coating that has already been detected by Enbridge.
 
The Great Lakes is the source of over 525,000 Michigan jobs according to a University of Michigan study, and an estimated 700 miles of Great Lakes coastline would be affected if the Line 5 Pipeline were to rupture.
 
"It is our understanding that Enbridge's work plan must be approved this spring in order for the inspections to move forward this year," the Representatives continued. "Delaying the inspections another year could allow more corrosion to occur."
 
The full letter is here and below.
 
February 24, 2017
 
The Honorable Scott Pruitt
Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
 
Dear Administrator Pruitt:
 
           This letter is in regards to the Line 5 pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy that runs between the Straits of Mackinac in northern Michigan.  Under the terms of their consent decree, Enbridge is required to conduct an investigation into how aquatic species are impacting the integrity of the pipeline.  In their "Biota Investigation Work Plan", which was submitted to EPA on September 27, 2016, Enbridge identified several potential "holidays" on the pipeline where there may be a loss of protective coating around the pipe.  We urge you to review Enbridge's work plan in an expedited fashion so these vulnerabilities can be investigated as soon as possible.
 
            As you know, 23 million gallons of oil flow through the two pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac every day.  A spill in that location would have a devastating impact on the Great Lakes and the economy of the surrounding states.  In fact, a study by the University of Michigan and supported by the National Wildlife Federation found that more than 15% of Lake Michigan' open water and nearly 60% of Lake Huron's open water could be affected by visible oil in a spill in the Straits.   This only further underscores the urgency of investigating these vulnerabilities as soon as possible.
 
It is our understanding that Enbridge's work plan must be approved this spring in order for the inspections to move forward this year.   Delaying the inspections another year could allow more corrosion to occur.   We therefore urge you to review Enbridge's work plan in an urgent and expeditious manner so inspections can occur this year.
 
Thank you for your attention to this critical issue and we are looking forward to receiving your response.