Activists look to disable oil pipeline, citing operator’s lack of insurance

Environmentalists are concerned that the pipeline operator lacks the infrastructure, support, and insurance necessary to mitigate a potential leak

Activists look to disable oil pipeline, citing operator’s lack of insurance


By Lyle Adriano

Environment activist groups are looking to halt the use of an oil pipeline, citing the pipeline operator’s lack of liability insurance, among other deficiencies.

The Line 5 pipeline, owned by Enbridge, transports 540,000 barrels of light crude, synthetic crude, and natural gas per day, from Ontario to Michigan. The pipeline is responsible for supplying over 50% of Michigan’s propane demands.

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Activists argue that the pipeline, while a key part of Alberta’s energy economy, poses a threat to the environment. Specifically, a section of the line runs through the Straits of Mackinac, which environmentalists say is responsible for supplying 20% of the world’s fresh surface water.

“They (Enbridge) pose an unacceptable risk given that they’re described as the worst possible place in the Great Lakes for a spill,” Liz Kirkwood, executive director of For Love of Water, told CBC.

Kirkwood pointed out that the pipeline does not have adequate support, is encrusted with invasive mussels, and its original engineering did not take into account the wild currents of the Great Lakes.

“Given the unacceptable risk and the magnitude of harm, where over 700 miles of coastal communities are at risk for their economy, drinking water, destruction of wildlife, we are asking for the State of Michigan to enforce the legal agreement with Enbridge and decommission this pipeline,” she explained.

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Kirkwood added that over the past four years, Enbridge has been violating the conditional easement issued by Michigan in 1953. The Calgary-based energy delivery company purportedly had a number of inadequate anchor supports, missing external pipeline coating, insufficient emergency response plans and underprovided liability insurance.

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