Michigan Regulators Request More Detail on Enbridge Tunnel Proposal

By Jason Cockerham

(P&GJ) — State regulators in Michigan have rejected a proposal submitted by Enbridge to build a tunnel underneath a portion of the Great Lakes to house its Line 5 oil pipeline, requesting more information on the project. 

A letter issued by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), requested that the Canadian pipeline company refine its submission to include more exact construction specifications. 

Despite rejecting it as incomplete and requesting additional details, the agency also chided the company for the size of its submission and requested the company “edit submitted materials for precision and relevance to actual proposed construction.”

“The materials submitted when compiled, total over 350 pages in length and are 86 MB in size.  This is a very large sized document,” EGLE wrote. 

EGLE also notes that under the state’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, (NREPA), they are required to “assess whether there are any feasible or prudent alternatives to the tunnel project” and asked Enbridge to include a complete assessment of any options.

The department notes that Enbridge did provide two alternatives but requested further analysis of the options provided. 

Enbridge was also asked to provide a wetland mitigation plan, as the department “anticipates requiring mitigation for permanent wetland impacts” as well as update its wetland restoration plan. 

In addition to the environmental updates requested, EGLE requested the company explain why it did not include information about the pending litigation concerning the validity of the Tunnel Agreement originally signed with the former governor before he left office in 2018.

Enbridge has 30 days to respond to the letter and update its documents.

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