A draft report that analyzes possible alternatives to Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P.’s Line 5 below the Straits of Mackinac is available to the public beginning today. The preliminary report can be found at the Michigan Petroleum Pipelines website.
A 30-day public comment period on the report developed by independent contractor Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems, Inc. opens July 6. Comments can be submitted online at the Michigan Petroleum Pipelines website, by email through the website, or by standard mail sent to Michigan Agency for Energy, Attn: Line 5 Pipeline Study, P.O. Box 30221, 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing, MI 48917. After the initial 30-day comment period, the public will have another 15 days to reply to posted comments.
In addition to the comment period, one public information session and three public feedback sessions also have been scheduled in the Lansing area, Traverse City and St. Ignace (see details below).
While the draft report was prepared independently by Dynamic Risk for the State of Michigan, the work and judgment are the views of the contractor and not those of the State. The State recognizes there still are questions that need to be addressed before the report is fully developed and it will be submitting comments publicly on the Michigan Petroleum Pipelines website following the same schedule as members of the public. As explained in a statement accompanying the report, the State has already sought clarification regarding the “worst case” spill assumptions and the independent engineering analysis of the pipeline to better understand whether and how the report aligns with the Statement of Work.
The final alternatives report, expected to be submitted in the fall, will help to inform decisions by the State about the future of the pipeline. The public will have opportunities after the report is completed to make comments about those decisions. This comment process is intended to ensure the informational basis for any decision is robust and complete.
Dynamic Risk representatives will present the company’s analysis of alternatives at a public information session July 6 at Holt High School, 5885 Holt Road, Holt, beginning at 5 p.m. Attendees will be able to ask questions of the company representatives. The session will be livestreamed, though questions will not be able to be accepted electronically. A taped recording of the session will be made available online.
Three public feedback sessions are scheduled for later in July. No formal presentation will be made at the sessions but representatives from Dynamic Risk and the State will be present to hear comments:
- Monday, July 24: Holt High School
5885 Holt Road, Holt, beginning at 8 a.m.
- Monday, July 24: Hagerty Center at Northwestern Michigan College
715 East Front St., Traverse City, starting at 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, July 25: Little Bear East Arena
275 Marquette St., St. Ignace, beginning at 6 p.m.
Attendees are advised that no weapons, noisemakers or signs will be allowed at the sessions. Large bags will be subject to search by security officers.
All four sessions are open to the public and all locations are handicapped-accessible. Speakers will be allowed three minutes to make comments on a first-come, first-served basis. Yielding time to another speaker will not be allowed. Speakers are asked to make comments at only one public session, to give everyone a chance to offer their thoughts.
The State last week terminated its contract with Det Norske Veritas (U.S.A.) Inc., which was performing a risk analysis on the pipeline, due to a conflict of interest that arose with a DNV GL employee. Therefore, no risk analysis is being offered for public comment today. The State is exploring its options for gaining the necessary information and no decisions have been made at this time regarding how to proceed with a risk analysis.
Enbridge funded an escrow account that is to be used to fund both the risk and the alternatives studies. Control of the money and selection of the contractor lies solely with the State.
Line 5 is a 645-mile pipeline built in 1953 and runs from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Canada. It transports up to 540,000 barrels a day of light crude oil and natural gas liquids.
Source: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality