Michigan, Enbridge Agree on Mackinac Straits Heavy Crude Oil Ban

LANSING, MI – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Director Dan Wyant of the Department of Environmental Quality, and Director Keith Creagh of the Department of Natural Resources today signed an agreement with Enbridge Partners, L.P. permanently banning heavy crude oil from moving through the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.Enbridge

This agreement formally implements the first recommendation of the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report released in July to ban heavy crude oil in Line 5. This a binding legal agreement that can be enforced in court.

“This agreement reflects the shared DNA that we in Michigan have with our Great Lakes,” said Schuette. “This prohibits heavy crude oil from flowing under the deep waters of the Straits of Mackinac.”

As outlined in the Task Force Report, the U.S. Coast Guard has publicly acknowledged that it does not have the capabilities to properly remediate a spill of heavy crude oil should it occur in the Mackinac Straits.

“During Task Force deliberations it became apparent that the transport of heavy crude under the Straits of Mackinac could pose some complex challenges to emergency responders protecting our Great Lakes resources,” said Creagh. “This binding agreement solidifies the company’s commitment not to transfer heavy crude under the Straits, which further advances protections for the Great Lakes.”

“Although Enbridge does not and has not used Line 5 for heavy crude, I am pleased with the additional layer of protection this agreement provides to prevent an environmental and economic catastrophe in the Straits,” Wyant said. “I appreciate Enbridge’s willingness to work with the state to protect our world-class natural resources.”

In addition to the signing of this agreement, Gov. Rick Snyder today issued an executive order creating the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board.