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The Michigan Legislature approved the Great Lakes pipeline project that envisages the replacement of a section of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, which is 65 years old, and agreed to set up a state authority to oversee the construction of a tunnel for a section of the new pipeline, the Associated Press reports.
Outgoing Republican Governor Rick Snyder plans to sign the bill into law quickly, the AP notes, in the face of criticism this effectively ties the hands of incoming Democrats in the offices of the governor and the attorney general.
Snyder is in a rush to complete the agreement for the replacement of the underwater segment of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline that carries crude oil and natural gas from Ontario to Wisconsin across the Straits of Macinac. Signed in October, the agreement needs some final touches before it enters into effect.
As part of the agreement, Enbridge will pay between US$350 and US$500 million for the construction of a tunnel for the pipeline in the Straits of Macinac. The project could take between seven and 10 years to complete, the AP reports.
Like other pipeline projects, the Line 5 replacement project faces opposition from environmentalists and native American communities from the region but it doesn’t seem to be as stiff as elsewhere, which has improved the project’s chances of completion.
However, a recent report from a joint U.S.-Canadian advisory organization, the Science Advisory Board, suggested the Straits of Macinac is among more than a dozen locations in the region of the Great Lakes that are vulnerable to oil spills.
“Because the lakes provide the largest source of fresh surface water for almost 40 million people and drinking water for many of these residents, the risk of a spill affecting drinking water may be significant, particularly when currents transport crude oil to the vicinity of drinking water intakes,” the authors of the report said.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.