Lansing – Enbridge has been awarded major contracts for the design and construction of a $US 500 million tunnel to maintain the Line 5 pipeline in the Strait of Mackinac, developments that are moving the project forward despite disputes over the closure of both pipelines. About 90 per cent of the initial design work for a state-of-the-art tunnel expected under the Strait of Mackinac has been completed, Enbridge said today. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, who had promised to close Line 5, rejected the tunnel`s construction schedule. When Enbridge said it could not meet a shortened timeline, both parties filed a complaint. The contracted companies have jointly built more than 400 pressure galleries, including several under conditions similar to those in the Strait of Mackinac, Enbridge said. But a National Claims Court ruling last year upheld Enbridge`s agreement with the state and allowed the company to continue construction. The three members of the authority were appointed by former Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who supported the tunnel project before leaving office at the end of 2018. Members have a six-year term, which means Whitmer will only be able to make his own appointments after second place. On December 19, 2018, Enbridge announced that it had reached an agreement with the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) on the future of Enbridge`s Line 5 Light Oil and Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) pipeline in the Strait of Mackinac. The government authority responsible for managing the Enbridge tunnel project will hold its first meeting in 15 months on Friday in Saint-Ignace. “We remain open to discussions with the governor and hope to be able to reach agreements outside of court,” Duffy said. Enbridge signed an agreement with the state in 2018 to build a $500 million tunnel to house Line 5 after months and years of concerns from environmental groups who were concerned about the impact of pollution in the Strait on the Great Lakes.
Enbridge has been and will continue the preparatory work on the Straits of Mackinac Tunnel project for as long as time permits, has just been approved to install 54 poles for the existing structure, and is asking a Lansing judge to dismiss Attorney General Dana Nessel`s lawsuit against the company. The poles for which Enbridge applied for approvals last year are necessary to maintain compliance with its easement agreement, which requires support for exposed sections over 75 feet. A coalition of environmental groups, Indians and civil society organizations plans to hand over a letter to the Authority on Friday criticizing the tunnel deal. Enbridge completed geotechnical drilling in the Strait this summer to prepare for tunnel construction, with state approvals it obtained before Whitmer halted state work on the pipeline in March. . . .