Judge allows Line 5 restart
TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — A Michigan judge Wednesday allowed Enbridge to resume pumping oil through a Midwestern pipeline, nearly a week after shutting it down because of damage to a structure that anchors a section of the line running through a Great Lakes channel.
Enbridge’s Line 5 moves crude oil and liquids used in propane from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, passing through parts of Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. A four-mile-long (6.4-kilometers-long) segment divides into two pipes that cross the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lakes Huron and Michigan.
Circuit Judge James Jamo granted a request from state Attorney General Dana Nessel to close the line June 25 after Enbridge, the Canadian company that operates it, reported that an inspection had found damage to an anchor supporting the underwater section’s eastern line. The pipe itself was unharmed, the company said.
During a hearing Tuesday, Enbridge attorneys urged Jamo to lift the restriction for the underwater western line so oil could resume flowing. The company says the interruption threatens supplies for customers of refineries that receive Line 5’s oil in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Nessel’s office argued for keeping the 645-mile-long (1,038-kilometers-long) line shut down until Enbridge provides additional information that would ensure it is being operated in a “reasonably prudent” manner.
In his amended order Wednesday, Jamo said the company could restart the western line to conduct a safety test and could keep it running “subject to the results of the (test) and further order of this court.”
Within a week of the restart, Jamo said, Enbridge must provide the state with test results for a particular area of the western line that a recent inspection found had apparently been scraped by a vessel cable or similar object. Test data for the rest of the line must be turned over “as soon as practical,” he said.