Press Releases

Upton Urges Action on Line 5

Letter to Enbridge emphasizes need for more transparency

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Washington, September 11, 2017 | Lynn Turner/Tom Wilbur (202-225-3761/269-385-0039) | comments

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today sent a letter to Enbridge urging action and improved transparency as it relates to the Line 5 pipeline, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac. The letter comes after the news that the State of Michigan had ordered Enbridge to restore a protective coating on parts of Line 5.

“I am deeply concerned by recent information confirming gaps in the protective coating on a portion of the pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac, especially given your company’s acknowledgement that construction activities may have caused or contributed to loss of coating.  These most recent findings raise serious concerns about Enbridge’s actions and its compliance with pipeline safety laws and regulations necessary to ensure public health and safety and the protection of our natural resources. As you know, the Great Lakes are a precious natural resource for our state and the entire Midwest region. A spill would be catastrophic with immediate and long-term harm. I expect immediate action and improved transparency when it comes to issues with Line 5. Rest assured I will remain hyper-vigilant and expect prompt response to my request.” the letter reads.

The full text of the letter can be found here or below:

Mr. Al Monaco
President and Chief Executive Officer
Enbridge, Inc

200, Fifth Avenue Place
425 1st Street SW
Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2P 3L8

 

Dear Mr. Monaco:

 In the summer of 2010, we learned the hard way in Southwest Michigan the price of gross negligence when it comes to maintaining pipeline infrastructure. It cannot be allowed to happen again and certainly not in the Great Lakes. In that regard, I write to request timely information about Enbridge’s pipeline safety and integrity management activities relating to Line 5, a 645-mile pipeline built in 1953 that travels through Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. 

 I am deeply concerned by recent information confirming gaps in the protective coating on a portion of the pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac, especially given your company’s acknowledgement that construction activities may have caused or contributed to loss of coating.  These most recent findings raise serious concerns about Enbridge’s actions and its compliance with pipeline safety laws and regulations necessary to ensure public health and safety and the protection of our natural resources.   

 Under my Chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Congress worked in a bipartisan manner to strengthen pipeline safety laws to require more stringent, risk-based inspections of Line 5.  My provision in the law requires Enbridge to conduct internal inspections annually, and other types of inspections, such as route surveys, pressure tests, and external corrosion assessments, on a schedule based on the significant risk that the pipeline poses to the Great Lakes and surrounding areas.  Despite the hydrotest conducted this summer, the more recent disclosure of a loss of protective coating and the likelihood that human error was a factor raises serious concerns about Enbridge’s compliance with federal pipeline safety laws. 

 Given the threat that a loss of protective coating presents to the safety and integrity of the pipeline, I urge you to conduct repairs immediately.  Additionally, I request that you provide my office with a report describing each location where damage to the external coating has been observed, the extent and nature of the damage, and any available documentation, including photographs and videos.  I also request that you provide my office with an updated copy of the integrity management plan for Line 5, demonstrating compliance with relevant pipeline safety laws and regulations. 

 As you know, the Great Lakes are a precious natural resource for our state and the entire Midwest region. A spill would be catastrophic with immediate and long-term harm. I expect immediate action and improved transparency when it comes to issues with Line 5. Rest assured I will remain hyper-vigilant and expect prompt response to my request.

 

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