August 2021, Vol. 246, No. 8

Projects

Enbridge Says More Permits Will Delay Line 5 Tunnel Project

Enbridge said the U.S. Army Corps’ decision to begin a tougher environmental review of the company’s proposed oil pipeline tunnel under the Great Lakes will set back construction on the project.   

Calgary, Canada-based Enbridge had expected to begin the $500 million tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac.  

The tunnel would contain a 4-mile (6.44-km) section of the aging Line 5 oil pipeline, which currently runs along the lakebed. Line 5 ships 540,000 barrels per day of oil and refined products from Superior, Wisc. to Sarnia, Ont., and is a key link in Enbridge’s crude export network.  

“The decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to complete an environmental impact statement (EIS) instead of an environmental assessment (EA) for the Great Lakes Tunnel project will lead to a delay in the start of construction on this important project,” Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said in an email.  

The company wanted the tunnel to be in service in 2024, but because the impact statement might take years, Enbridge said it will have to reevaluate its timeline.  

In 2018, Enbridge announced plans to build the tunnel, which is buried more 100 feet (30.5 meters) below the lakebed. The design, the company said, would “virtually eliminate” the chances of a spill. 

 

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