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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

UPDATED: US Army Corps of Engineers seeks public comment on Enbridge permit application for proposed tunnel under Mackinac Straits; deadline extended to July 14

By Michele Bourdieu

This map, included in the US Army Corps of Engineers Public Notice on Enbridge Energy's permit application for their proposed tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac, shows the location of the existing Line 5 dual pipelines -- dotted lines to the west of the Mackinac Bridge (at right, in red) between St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, Michigan. Enbridge hopes to replace the 67-year-old Line 5 with a pipeline inside a tunnel under the lakebed of the Straits. (Image courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers)

LANSING -- Since May 15, 2020, the US Army Corps of Engineers has been soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of Enbridge Energy's proposed pipeline tunnel, intended to replace Line 5, under the Straits of Mackinac between Mackinaw City and Saint Ignace, Michigan.

Enbridge has applied for a Department of the Army permit under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. State Authority is also required since Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires that all discharges of dredged or fill material must be certified by the State as complying with applicable effluent limitations and water quality standards. Coastal Zone Management Certification (or waiver thereof) is required from the State of Michigan if this proposed activity would occur within the designated coastal zone.

The Army Corps public notice on these permit applications includes several diagrams to illustrate Enbridge's plans.

This slide showing wetland impacts is one of several diagrams included in the US Army Corps of Engineers Public Notice on Enbridge's tunnel application. (See larger image on p. 13 of the June 4, 2020, Public Notice pdf document.)

After the Army Corps issued a Public Notice on May 15 with a public comment deadline of June 4, many public comments requesting an extension of the comment period resulted in a 40-day extension, indicated in the revised June 4 Public Notice. The deadline for comments on Enbridge's application for permits for the tunnel is now July 14, 2020.

The following are some excerpts from the June 4 Public Notice:

Enbridge proposes to construct an 18- to 21-foot-diameter tunnel approximately 3.6 miles long, underneath the lakebed of the Straits of Mackinac at depths at least 10 feet below the top of rock or 60 feet below the mud line, whichever is shallower. Approximately 364,000 cubic yards of material would be removed from underneath the lakebed to construct the tunnel. The material would be disposed of in an upland location. Upon tunnel completion, the applicant proposes to install a new 30-inch diameter pipeline within the tunnel, for light crude oil and natural gas liquids, to replace the existing Line 5 dual pipelines crossing the Straits of Mackinac. The tunnel would be constructed using a tunnel boring machine (TBM). Pre-cast concrete segmental lining would be installed as the tunnel is constructed, and the annular space outside the tunnel’s concrete lining would be filled with low-permeability grout. 

Enbridge has stated that impacts to the waters of the United States have been minimized by: 1) locating the tunnel at the shortest distance between the upper and lower peninsulas, 2) siting tunnel entrance, exit, and construction facilities away from existing residential, commercial, recreational areas, 3) maximizing use of uplands, 4) using or improving existing roads for construction access, and 5) minimizing the area that would be disturbed by construction. The Corps has not verified the adequacy of the applicant’s avoidance and minimization statement at this time.

Enbridge has stated that compensatory mitigation is not necessary or appropriate for the proposed work because:  "Total wetland impacts are 0.11 acres [revised to 0.10 acre of permanent impact and 0.03 acre of temporary impact] and Enbridge is seeking that wetland mitigation requirements be waived." The Corps has not verified the adequacy of this mitigation proposal at this time.

This activity involves the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Therefore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, under the authority of Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act.

Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition hosts speakers on tunnel, Line 5

On May 12, 2020, the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition hosted a Zoom livestream presentation on the controversy over re-permitting Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline. Jeff Towner, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers retired wildlife biologist and UPEC Board member, and Mike Ripley of the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA) were the guests. Towner explained the regulatory path Enbridge has to go through for the Line 5 tunnel approval. Ripley discussed tribal efforts to shut down Line 5 because of the dangers a spill would pose to their fisheries, which they operate under rights recognized by the Treaty of 1836.

Speaking during UPEC's May 12 presentation via Zoom are Jeff Towner, UPEC Board member (lower left) and Mike Ripley of CORA (upper row, second from left). The program can now be viewed on YouTube here.

Towner, who has extensive experience working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, explained the regulatory path Enbridge has to go through for the Line 5 tunnel approval under the Clean Water Act (Section 404, delegated to the State of Michigan) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Section 404 requires a permit for placement of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States, including wetlands. Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 is summarized in this slide from Towner's presentation:

Note that this law applies to any "structure or work [that] affects the course, condition, location, or capacity of the water body" and applies to a "tunnel." (Slide courtesy Jeff Towner)*

"To me, in this case, the word 'condition' is really what applies more than anything," Towner said of the wording of this 1899 Act.

Towner also pointed out that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required under NEPA (the National Environmental Protection Act) for "major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment."
One purpose of the EIS is "to engage the public in the agency deliberative process."

Towner, who also has worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pointed out that Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies, in this case the Army Corps, to consult with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for any action they determine "may affect" threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat. He added that listed species in the UP include: Canada Lynx, Gray Wolf, Northern Big-Eared Bat and Piping Plover. Other species, and not necessarily all, may be affected.**

Towner also noted that despite protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it would no longer hold Enbridge liable for harm to birds from an oil leak because the Trump Administration removed those provisions. However, a permit is required for unavoidable harm to bald or golden eagles.

Towner said the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act requires the Army Corps to seek the views of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).

Under Cultural Resources, Towner mentioned the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which requires return of grave and cultural items found on reservations, federal land, and project areas receiving federal funding or permits.

Towner, who was one of many concerned citizens to ask the Army Corps to extend the original comment period, more recently sent this comment to the Army Corps on Enbridge's tunnel permit application: "Among other things, the Corps should carefully analyze the potential effects to threatened and endangered species in the area, and obtain concurrence from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, the potential impacts of this project, to include a risk analysis of the potential for a major pipeline rupture and petroleum leak into the Straits should be conducted, and a full environmental impact statement should be prepared, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act."

Mike Ripley, a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and a representative of the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA), a coalition of five 1836 Treaty fishing tribes in Michigan -- Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians -- spoke during the same May 12 UPEC zoom meeting on "Addressing the Threat to Treaty Fisheries."

This map shows the ceded areas of Michigan and 3 Great Lakes under the 1836 Treaty, which guaranteed fishing and hunting rights to the tribes. (Map courtesy Mike Ripley)

Beginning with the wake-up call of the 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill from Enbridge Line B, Ripley gave a historical overview of tribal efforts to protect their fisheries from potential oil spills, particularly in the area that would be affected by a Line 5 spill in the Straits of Mackinac -- the "worst possible place for an oil spill," according to David Schwab, University of Michigan Water Center."

Mike Ripley used this slide to illustrate how the 2012 National Wildlife Federation report and videos called attention to Line 5 in the Straits and how the CORA tribes soon began taking steps to oppose it. (Slide courtesy Mike Ripley)

In 2014 CORA joined the Oil and Water Don't Mix coalition of groups, tribes, businesses and individuals opposed to Line 5. Oil and Water Don't Mix also opposes the proposed tunnel.

Eventually former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made a "backroom deal" with Enbridge for a tunnel as an alternative to Line 5, Ripley explained.

Following meetings of the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, at which CORA members testified against Line 5, one Alternatives Analysis Report (during the Snyder administration) suggested a tunnel under the Straits as an alternative to Line 5, as this slide shows. (Slide courtesy Mike Ripley)

In 2017, CORA issued a "Resolution in Opposition to Placing an  Oil Pipeline in Trenches or Tunnel Beneath the Straits of Mackinac," stating, in part, that "both trenching and tunneling beneath the Straits of Mackinac will  have significant adverse effects to the Treaty Fishery in that  area including significant disruptive effects on  the bottomlands, water quality, fish spawning shoals and will require disruption of tribal commercial and subsistence fisheries" and "construction of new pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac, be they in trenches or tunnels, will not eliminate the risks of an oil spill in the 1836 Treaty ceded lands and waters."***

In that same Resolution CORA called for the shutdown of Line 5.

"Cora is very much opposed to a tunnel," Ripley said.

This slide reviews Enbridge's efforts to obtain approval for a tunnel and CORA's opposition and mentions the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) public comment period. (Slide courtesy Mike Ripley)****

Several weeks after this UPEC presentation, MPSC, on June 30, denied Enbridge's request for approval of its tunnel plans and has scheduled a contested case public hearing on Enbridge's application for August 24, 2020.*****

Earth Justice supports Bay Mills Indian Community

Attorneys from Earth Justice have been representing the Bay Mills Indian Community in the tribe's Petition to Intervene in the MPSC contested  case hearing.

"If our petition to intervene is granted, Earth Justice will represent Bay Mills in a contested case to protect the important treaty rights that the tribe has in this area," Christopher Clark of Earth Justice told Keweenaw Now recently.

Clark said Bay Mills will also be submitting comments on the Enbridge permit application to the Army Corps.

"We're very concerned about the environmental impact that the tunnel would have on the tribe's fishing rights in the Straits," Clark said.

Bryan Newland, Bay Mills Indian Community president, is cited in Bay Mills' Petition to Intervene as follows: "At present, the Tribe is deeply concerned that environmental stressors such as climate change, invasive species, chemical pollutants and habitat destruction will combine to have a significant and perhaps permanent adverse impact on the fishery. The operation of current Line 5, and the prospect of the siting and construction of a tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac for the transport of petroleum products, is the most obvious and most preventable risk to the fishery resources throughout northern Lakes Michigan and Huron."

The petition also states, "Bay Mills and its members have further concerns that the project may risk harm to the environment during construction and that it may not eliminate risk after construction. Bay Mills and its members are also concerned about the length of time in which the project may be under development and the continued operation of the pipes in the water in the meantime."

FLOW applauds MPSC for June 30 decision on tunnel

Liz Kirkwood, environmental attorney and executive director of FLOW (For Love of Water), a Great Lakes law and policy center based in Traverse City, said this about MPSC's June 30 decision:

"The Michigan Public Service Commission’s decision today is a big win for all Michigan residents that upholds their public trust rights in the Great Lakes. The MPSC flatly rejected the untenable claim by Enbridge that it had somehow already received approval in 1953, when Line 5 was built in the Straits of Mackinac, for an oil tunnel it is proposing 67 years later in 2020. The 3-0 vote by the MPSC means Enbridge will not be allowed to dodge a full review of their proposed oil pipeline tunnel, including an August 24 public hearing, which is desperately needed in light of the potential impact on the Great Lakes and its regional economy.

"We applaud the MPSC for rejecting Enbridge’s declaratory ruling request, and instead, requiring that Enbridge’s application be reviewed as a contested case with a public hearing under Michigan’s Act 16. Enbridge now has the burden to show a public need for this proposed oil pipeline under the Great Lakes, ensure no harm or pollution to our public trust waters and lands, and fully consider feasible and prudent alternatives to this project. With society’s urgent need to tackle climate change head on and ensure freshwater security, Enbridge cannot show that its proposed fossil fuel infrastructure is a credible solution for Michigan’s 21st century just and equitable future."

Oil and Water Don't Mix sends public comments to Army Corps

Oil and Water Don't Mix states on their Web site: "Enbridge has applied for a permit to construct a tunnel for its Line 5 oil pipeline through the Great Lakes to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). It appears the USACE is not intending on subjecting the permit to the rigorous environmental review and public process that this project demands. It's up to us to ensure this permit is subject to the highest scrutiny." Oil and Water Don't Mix facilitates public comments to the USACE with a form for sending an email from their site here.

They also note in the sample email, which calls for an EIS and a public hearing, "The project Enbridge is pursuing is an issue of significant public interest involving large-scale impacts in areas potentially impacting Great Lakes waters where multiple federally protected threatened species reside. As proposed, construction of a 3.58-mile tunnel under the lakebed of the Straits of Mackinac will involve extensive blasting, tunnel excavation, and the discharge of up to five million gallons a day of wastewater into Lake Michigan."

In her comments to the Army Corps on the tunnel permits, Lisa Patrell of Ann Arbor, who has done geological research on karsts and sinkholes, says, "The Army Corps of Engineers is in the position to require a thorough geology study of the Straits of Mackinac, in order to confirm the stability of the land in two regards. One, guarantee that disturbing the North American Intracontinental Rift will not undermine the structural integrity of the Mackinac Bridge. Two, guarantee that tunneling through the karst formation will not trigger sinkholes during or after the proposed tunnel’s completion. Enbridge’s 25 borings samples are not sufficient nor equivalent to third party scientific study."

Patrell explains that Michigan's underlying geology in the region is a karst -- a system of large, porous openings that are prone to collapsing. Sinkholes are such collapses that happen on dry land.

Comments to Army Corps of Engineers due by July 14, 2020

According to the Army Corps' June 4 Public Notice, comments on the project should be e-mailed but may also be submitted in writing and postmarked or delivered by July 14, 2020. Comments of a positive or negative nature may be submitted. All responses must refer to file number LRE-2010-00463-56-A19. The Corps will interpret a lack of response as meaning that there is no objection to the permit application. Comments should be filed with:

Kerrie E. Kuhne
Chief, Permit Evaluation Western Branch
Regulatory Office
Corps of Engineers, Detroit District
477 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48226-2550

Comments may be e-mailed to: Katie.L.Otanez@usace.army.mil but must include a name and mailing address.

Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests for public hearings shall state, with particularity, the reasons for holding a public hearing.

The Public Notice states the following under Evaluation:

"The decision whether to issue the Department of the Army permit will be based on evaluation of the probable impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concerns for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people."

UPDATE: The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) together with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) has announced the launch of the Line 5 in Michigan website, Michigan.gov/Line 5 -- designed to keep the public informed about Enbridge Energy’s proposal to relocate the current section of the Line 5 oil and natural gas liquids pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac with a new section of pipeline to be housed in a tunnel beneath the lakebed.

Editor's Notes:

* Additional slides from Jeff Towner's presentation are available here.

** See the Army Corps Public Notice on impacts on Endangered Species.

*** Click here to read the 2017 CORA Resolution against the proposed tunnel project.

**** For more of Mike Ripley's slides click here.

***** See "MPSC denies Enbridge Energy's request for relief on Line 5 pipeline project, sets Aug. 24 full hearing process for proposal."

See also our May 8, 2020, article, "Michigan Public Service Commission seeks public comment on Enbridge Line 5 - tunnel request by May 13," which includes several public comments.

Nine award-winning community gardens increase food access in Western UP

The Ryan Street Garden in Hancock is one of nine recipients of a Community Gardens award from Portage Health Foundation. (Photo © and courtesy Michael H. Babcock at Portage Health Foundation)

HANCOCK -- Portage Health Foundation (PHF) is proud to announce $37,400 has been awarded for nine projects who responded to the foundation’s Community Gardens request for proposals that was released in January.

"Overall, we are very pleased with this group of grantees," said Dr. Michelle Seguin, Director of Community Health at PHF. "The projects funded will serve a wide cross-section of the community in a variety of different settings including traditional community gardens, schools, and residential housing complexes. It’s especially exciting to see the collaborations involved including school-community-based partnerships and opportunities for intergenerational learning. When we learn, grow and eat together, we all win."

The nine project awardees:

Chassell Township Schools - Chassell School Garden -- $5,000. Chassell Public Schools is creating a shared greenspace, including a community garden. This new school garden fits into the district’s goal of creating a nature trail through a partnership with the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative.

City of Hancock - Herb and "Three Sisters" Garden -- $1,900. In an effort to continue the beautification of Hancock and provide an opportunity for food education and security, Portage Health Foundation, with the assistance of a private donor, has funded garden projects at Porvoo Park, site of the new Hancock Outdoor Farmers Market, on the waterfront in the City of Hancock. The new raised garden bed and the previous overgrown circular bed are now full of edible herbs for public use.

Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Schools - DB-TC Tower Gardening Project -- $2,500. The school district will be measuring lettuce consumption rates before, during and after learning about the hydro garden, which will use a tower gardening system -- known to grow more in less time with few resources.

Finlandia University - Ryan Street Community Garden -- $5,000. One of the longest-running community gardens in Michigan’s Copper Country, the Ryan Street Community Garden was founded in 2010 on the Finlandia University campus. Since then it has provided a rich and fruitful experience for a stable membership group that has now created more demand than capacity. With the $5,000 grant, the all-volunteer organization will install two new raised beds, install and plant a new perennial garden, offer workshops, add a picnic table and benches, and host field trips.

Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District - School Community Garden -- $5,000. In an effort to increase the consumption of healthy produce for students and community members, increase opportunities for health education, and create a space to foster social connection among community members Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District in partnership with Ontonagon Area Schools is going to create a community garden on the school district's campus.

Hancock Public Schools - Barkell Elementary School Garden -- $5,000. A 20’ x 30’ school garden will be created behind Barkell Elementary School in Hancock -- in close proximity to the location of their previous garden, which was ruined in 2019 because of a roof collapse. The new garden will support six beds, including an elevated raised bed that will be used by three Copper Country ISD special education classes.

Ontonagon Village Housing Commission - Pedestal and Raised Bed Gardens -- $3,000. This grant allowed the construction of raised bed gardens that are accessible to individuals with mobility issues and help create a community environment within Ontonagon Village Housing, a 60-unit residential housing complex. The grant funded materials to construct the gardens, including wood, dirt, fencing and mulch.

Osceola Township - Dollar Bay Community Garden -- $5,000. A community garden in Dollar Bay (Osceola Township) will provide local residents access to fresh, seasonal vegetables as well as serve as an educational resource for the community. The new garden will be located within walking distance of the school, creating the potential to host on-site learning tied to grade-level curriculum. See the Dollar Bay Community Garden on Facebook.

Village of South Range - South Range Community Garden -- $5,000. The creation of a community garden in the Village of South Range should provide a space for many programs to be successful, help the village promote more community involvement and spark a strong sense of community pride. The Adams Township School District hopes to involve students in the trades and culinary programs at Jeffers High School and younger students at South Range Elementary School to use this space as a tool for learning about plants and ecosystems.

Follow Portage Health Foundation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on each project throughout the summer, and visit phfgive.org for more information on these grants and on the health-focused foundation.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Health Department reports potential COVID-19 site exposures for Houghton County

HANCOCK -- The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) has identified sites visited by individuals who later tested positive for COVID-19. Local residents visiting these sites may be at a higher risk for exposure if larger crowds were present and masking and social distancing guidelines were not consistently followed. These sites are the following:
  • Keweenaw Brewing Company, 408 Shelden Ave, Houghton, MI, on June 26th through June 29th.
  • Downtowner Lounge, 100 Shelden Ave, Houghton, on June 27th.
  • Mosquito Inn, 39959 M-26, Toivola, MI, on June 27th.
  • Agate Beach Campground, M-26, Toivola, MI, on June 27th.
  • Twin Lakes State Park, M-26, Toivola, MI, on June 27th through June 29th.
  • Applebees, 980 Razorback Drive, Houghton, on June 28th, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Portage Golf Course, 46789 US-41, Houghton, on June 28th and June 29th.
The health department is advising people that exposure could have occurred at the sites listed above or several days later with close contact to someone who visited one of the sites. Depending on the length of exposure, you may be at higher risk for contacting COVID-19. Symptoms will typically appear within 2 to 14 days of the exposure

WUPHD asks that if you visited any of these sites, or have had close contact with someone who visited those sites, and have or develop symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath that you call your healthcare provider and inform them of any potential exposure. For general information, call the WUPHD COVID-19 call center at (906) 487-5545, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If your symptoms worsen to the point of needing emergency care, please call 911 and notify the dispatcher of your symptoms or any potential exposure.

Editor's Note: See Keweenaw Now's right column for updates on positive cases and recoveries.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Judge continues restrictions for Line 5 operations, orders Enbridge to provide State with information

From Office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Attorneys for the Michigan Attorney General and for Enbridge present arguments concerning Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac to Judge James S. Jamo (top right photo) during a  virtual hearing on June 30 in Ingham County Circuit Court. (Photo courtesy Oil and Water Don't Mix)

LANSING – After a lengthy hearing on Tuesday, June 30, on Attorney General Dana Nessel’s motion for a preliminary injunction related to the recently discovered damage to Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac, Ingham County Circuit Court ordered continued restrictions on the operation of Line 5 and required Enbridge Energy to promptly and fully disclose all relevant information and data to the State.

"Today’s Court decision allows the State to receive the vital information surrounding this incident that we need to complete an informed analysis of the damage and evaluate the threat this pipeline poses to our environment if left to operate in its current state," Nessel said on July 1. "A breach of the Line 5 pipeline or a similar incident would result in devastating consequences for a wide range of industries and countless Michiganders. The long-term risk this pipeline poses to not only Michigan, but the Great Lakes region, cannot be taken lightly."

Judge James S. Jamo’s July 1 order amends the temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by the Attorney General’s office and issued by the Court on June 25. The new TRO temporarily prohibits Enbridge from operating the east leg of twin pipelines that comprise Line 5 until the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration (PHMSA) completes its investigation of the matter, and until Enbridge provides the state and PHMSA necessary information, completes any needed repairs and until further order by the court.

Damage to the east leg of Line 5 was reported to State officials June 18, which caused Enbridge to shut down both lines, but it then unilaterally reactivated the west leg on June 20 without alerting the State.

This is one of the photos of damage to an anchor support on the east leg of the Line 5 pipelines, sent by Enbridge to EGLE and DNR. (Photo courtesy Enbridge Energy)

The July 1 court order also allows Enbridge to restart the west leg for the purpose of conducting an In Line Inspection (ILI) of that pipeline, and requires Enbridge to provide the results on the area of interest to the State and the Court within seven days of restarting operations of that line. The order also requires Enbridge to provide all other information requested by the State.

The order sets a deadline for receipt of documents, stating, "Parties must prepare a stipulated list of documents and other materials to be produced, with expected timeframes for production, and a list of documents or other materials requested by the State of Michigan but production of which is objected to by Defendants and the basis for objection, and file it with the Court on or before July 7, 2020, at 1:00 p.m."*

The Court based its decision on the grounds argued by the Attorney General -- the requirements of the 1953 easement mandating that Enbridge at all times exercise the "due care" of a reasonably prudent person for the safety and welfare of all persons and of all public and private property. 

The Court stated that this order would remain in effect until it issues a full opinion and order on the Attorney General’s motion for preliminary injunction, which seeks continued suspension of the pipeline operations until certain conditions are met.

* Click here
to view a copy of the Court’s order.