Enbridge Seeks Permits to Build Great Lakes Oil Tunnel

(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge Inc. applied Wednesday for state and federal authorization to construct an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the Michigan waterway that connects two of the Great Lakes.

The Canadian company wants to build a roughly 4-mile-long tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac. It would replace the underwater segment of Line 5, a pipeline that runs between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.

Enbridge submitted a joint application to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Approval from both is needed for the project to go forward.

“The Great Lakes Tunnel Project unequivocally is the most practical, long-term solution to delivering a secure energy supply to the region while enhancing environmental safeguards in the Straits,” said Amber Pastoor, the project manager.

Line 5 each day carries 23 million gallons (87 million liters) of crude oil and natural gas liquids used for propane. It divides into two pipes beneath the straits, which links Lakes Michigan and Huron — an ecologically sensitive area and popular tourist destination.

Environmental contend Line 5 is vulnerable to leaks after lying on the bottom of the straits for 67 years. Enbridge says it is in good condition and is monitored closely but agreed to spend $500 million on a replacement that would be housed in a tunnel drilled through bedrock underneath the straits.

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