Enbridge To Resume Operation of East Segment of Line 5

By Jason Cockerham 

(P&GJ) — Enbridge announced late Wednesday that the company will restart a segment of its Line 5 oil pipeline that was closed in July after an inspection of the line had revealed minor damage to an anchor support. 

The pipeline, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan has been cleared to resume full operations after Circuit Judge James Jamo signed an order reversing a previous order to shut the pipeline after the damage was discovered.

Judge Jamo's approval comes after Enbridge received restart authorization from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

During a routine inspection of the line in July, maintenance crews discovered that a support anchor on the pipeline’s east segment had been struck but there was no damage to the pipeline itself and no oil was spilled into the water.

There was no damage to the west segment of the pipeline which was returned to operation in July. 

Following a review of the data from an in-line inspection of the east segment in the area around the damaged screw anchor, PHMSA indicated in a letter to Enbridge dated September 4, 2020, that, "The review by PHMSA and its independent third-party expert did not identify any integrity issues. As no integrity issues have been identified in the area around the displaced anchor, PHMSA has no objection to Enbridge restarting the east leg of Line 5."

The company said in a statement that is has kept the state fully advised of the status of the investigations and will continue to do so.

Environmental groups and the Democratic governor of Michigan have been fighting to shut the 65-year old pipeline down permanently due to concerns of an oil spill, but the company maintains the pipeline is safe.

In 2018, Enbridge signed an agreement with the previous governor, Republican Rick Snyder to build a tunnel under the Straights of Mackinac to house a replacement section of the pipeline.

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