Oil Spill in the Great Lakes?

How Safe Are The Pipelines?

Two aging pipelines owned by Enbridge Energy run across the Straits of Mackinac on Lake Michigan bottomlands, transporting 23 million gallons of oil daily.

A University of Michigan study called it “the worst possible place” in the Great Lakes for an oil spill.

Dr. Ed Timm, a retired Senior Scientist and Consultant to Dow Chemical’s Environmental Operations Business (EOB), recently gave presentations to local communities on corrosion and structural issues with Line 5 pipeline.

Line 5 pipeline runs 645 miles from a pipeline hub in Superior, Wisconsin, through the Upper Peninsula, under the Mackinac Straits where it splits into two pipelines, down lower Michigan then crosses the St. Clair River to its final destination at a refinery in Sarnia, Ontario. The pipeline crosses at least 45 waterways and 23 counties.

Dr. Timm explained that while the pipelines were well-built using state of the art technology in 1953, 62 years of corrosion, stress from the buffeting effects of strong currents in the Straits, loss of protective covering, structural impacts from zebra and quagga mussels on the pipeline exterior, have taken their toll. The flow of oil through the pipelines has been increased 80% from its original recommended carrying capacity, further stressing the aging pipes. And while Enbridge, Inc, owner of the pipelines states the lines are safe and in excellent condition, they are under no obligation to release results of their inspections to Michigan regulatory agencies or the public. Enbridge’s 40-year-old Line 6B pipeline ruptured in 2010, spewing over a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River watershed. The fatal flaw in Line 6B was known to Enbridge management for 5 years without triggering their repair process, and once the line ruptured, they continued to pump oil through the broken line for 17 hours, assuming they were receiving false alarms on the drop in pressure. Dr. Timm concluded that the Straits pipeline poses an unacceptable risk to our Great Lakes and that risk increases exponentially with each passing day.

The presentation was sponsored by Friends of the Jordan River Watershed, WATCH, Inc. (Water Air Team Charlevoix), NMEAC (Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council), FLOW (For Love of Water), Oil and Water Don’t Mix, Don’t Frack Michigan, Friends of the Boyne River.

A Massive Oil Pipeline Under the Great Lakes Is Way Past Its Expiration Date If there is a rupture,
the result would be disastrous.

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