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Line 5 pipeline flow increased by 50,000 bpd

The Associated Press reports, “Three U.S. senators have asked a federal agency to check on the safety of an oil pipeline (Line 5) that runs beneath Great Lakes waters. Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan made the request Wednesday in a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.”

“They say Enbridge Energy Partners recently began pumping an additional 2.1 million gallons of oil daily (that’s an additional 50,000 barrels a day) through the line, built in 1953 and passing beneath the Straits of Mackinac where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet.”

The senators said in their letter, “If the pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac were to leak or burst, it could have devastating effects on the Great Lakes and the entire region’s economy. The Great Lakes constitute 95 percent of the nation’s surface fresh water supply…”

“An Enbridge pipeline (Line 6b) rupture polluted the Kalamazoo River in 2010. The senators say a similar break in the Straits could be disastrous.”

While Enbridge claims Line 5 does not carry diluted bitumen, but rather ‘light crude oil, light synthetic crude and natural gas liquids’, National Wildlife Federation community outreach regional coordinator Beth Wallace says, “It’s tar sands-derived oil, it’s gone through one of many upgrading processes so it’s not as heavy as the dilbit (that spilled) in the Kalamazoo River, but it’s just one step up, not light by any means.”

The Detroit Free Press adds, “A pipeline safety administration spokeswoman said it has an agreement in place imposing ‘more stringent safety requirements’ on Enbridge’s entire Lakehead System, including Lines 5 and 6B, and will respond to the letter once it is received. She noted that the agency imposed a record $3.7-million penalty for the Marshall spill (into the Kalamazoo River). …The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration encouraged anyone with an interest in reading about actions involving Enbridge to monitor its page.”

The Council of Canadians has expressed concerns about the Line 5 pipeline and has been in contact with our US allies to determine collaborative campaign strategies.

Further reading
Line 5 pipeline spill would pollute the Great Lakes