2017-12-07 / News

State Hires Pipeline Experts; Line 5 Temporarily Shuts Down

The Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) has hired two specialists to monitor the work of Enbridge Energy, as required by the November 27 agreement Enbridge reached with the State of Michigan. Tuesday, December 5, the MAE announced that Daniel Cooper and Michael A. Mooney will work part-time to monitor Enbridge, review and verify its data, and participate in evaluations.

Both experts have years of experience in pipelines and underground construction, according to MAE, but have never worked for Enbridge and have committed they will not do so while working for the state.

Mr. Cooper is president of HT Engineering, Inc. of Grand Rapids and is a licensed professional engineer in Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio. Since 1981, he has designed and managed natural gas and liquid petroleum production, processing, transportation, and distribution projects.

His technical expertise includes natural gas and liquid products pipelines, liquid products pumping stations, fluid measurement and flow control, pipeline safety and risk analysis, and pipeline failure investigation.

Mr. Cooper will work with Enbridge and other state staff to review the existing Line 5 system design and configurations near environmentally sensitive areas. He will work to identify and recommend additional risk mitigation strategies that could be implemented to decrease the likelihood and consequences of a spill.

With his experience in underground construction and tunneling, Dr. Mooney will look specifically at replacing Line 5 underneath the Straits, helping to guide the study as it progresses.

A licensed professional engineer, Dr. Mooney is a professor of underground construction and tunneling at Colorado School of Mines, where he established the Center for Underground Construction and Tunneling. He has researched and consulted on the analysis, design, construction, and monitoring of tunnels, shafts, borings, and excavations.

He serves on the executive committee of the Underground Construction Association and was the Scientific Committee Chair for the 2016 World Tunneling Congress held in San Francisco.

Mr. Cooper and Dr. Mooney will independently review and verify the reports Enbridge must file with the state by June 30, 2018. The state will decide what to do about Line 5 by August 15, 2018 at the latest.

Enbridge temporarily shut down Line 5 Tuesday because of high winds and waves, which reached more than nine feet high according to a NOAA computer model. The line was shut down at 11:37 a.m. Tuesday morning and resumed when conditions improved. A temporary shutdown in inclement weather was one of the provisions of the agreement with the state.

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