2017-11-23 / News

Line 5 Alternatives Analysis Now Available to the Public

The alternatives analysis for Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 twin pipelines that run beneath the Straits of Mackinac was made public Monday, November 20. The analysis, performed by Dynamic Risk Assessment, analyzed six alternatives to dealing with the future of Line 5, and found that all of the alternatives except one could be feasible.

The 379-page document is available on The St. Ignace News Web site, stignacenews.com, under the “Documents” tab.

A public meeting about the report is planned in St. Ignace Tuesday, December 12, at 6 p.m. at Little Bear East Arena.

The public will have until December 22 to submit comments on the alternatives analysis, which can be made on the Michigan Petroleum Pipelines Web site, mipetroleumpipelines.com, or by mail to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Attn: Line 5 Alternatives Analysis, P.O. Box 30473, Lansing, MI 48909-7973.

The six alternatives were varied in their approach to dealing with the portion of Line 5 that crosses the Straits of Mackinac.

The alternatives include:

1. Building one or more new pipelines that do not cross Great Lakes waters, and then decommissioning the Straits crossing.

2. Using existing pipelines that do not cross the Great Lakes and decommissioning the Straits crossing.

3. Using alternative transportation methods like railroad, tanker trucks, oil tankers, and barges and decommissioning the Straits crossing.

4. Replacing the Straits crossing using new design and technology, like a conventional trenched installation or tunnel installation.

5. Keeping the existing pipeline and maintaining it.

6. Ending transportation of petroleum products and natural gas liquids through the Straits crossing and then decommissioning that segment.

Alternative 5, keeping the Straits crossing of Line 5 as is with ongoing maintenance, was used as the benchmark to which the other alternatives were compared. Dynamic Risk Assessment considered several factors, including cost estimates, economic feasibility, socioeconomic impacts, market impacts, and spill risk analyses.

Each alternative except Alternative 2, using existing pipeline infrastructure, could be feasible the study found. For Alternative 3, rail was the only alternative transportation option that was feasible.

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