Threat of Enbridge pipeline closure worries Sarnia mayor

Sarnia mayor Mike Bradley is worried that Michigan will shutter a pipeline that the city needs for oil and propane.

Michigan has given end of June as the deadline for an agreement between Enbridge and governor

Enbridge is proposing a pipeline encased in a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac to replace the current twin pipelines. (Radio-Canada)

Sarnia's mayor is concerned that the State of Michigan will shut down a pipeline that carries propane and crude oil to Sarnia from Western Canada.

The Line 5 pipeline is owned by Enbridge and it crosses the Straits of Mackinac. The pipeline has been a source of concern for environmentalists. Last year, it was gouged by an anchor.

Michigan's attorney general has warned that the state would move to close the pipeline by the end June if Gov. Gretchen Whitmer didn't reach an agreement with the company to build a new pipeline encased in concrete.

The mayor, Mike Bradley, wants to see the pipeline replaced. He said losing it would be a blow to Sarnia.

"Well there would be no question. There would be great economic disruption," said Bradley.

"I mean the alternative, if you think about it is a convoluted one, but to have tanker trucks or rail cars constantly coming into this community is one that is not environmentally friendly."

In this June 8, 2017 file photo, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., as Canadian oil transport company Enbridge prepares to test the east and west sides of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. (Dale G Young/The Detroit News via AP)

Enbridge has told Whitmer that the new pipeline can be in service by 2024. The pipeline would reside in a tunnel underwater to replace the current twin lines.

"Line 5 is safe and critical to Michigan and we therefore continue to operate it," said Enbridge in a news release on Thursday.

Bradley also believes that pipelines are the safest way to transport oil and gas.

"I'm not a defender of Enbridge. I'm not here to be their spokesman but my understanding following this issue closely that they've been making all sorts of alternative, very expensive plans to deal with the concerns by the attorney general," said Bradley.

"It may be if those plans are acceptable to the State of Michigan then they can move forward and let the pipeline continue and make steps necessary to upgrade it," he said.

About the Author

Dale Molnar

Video Journalist

Dale Molnar is an award-winning video journalist at CBC Windsor. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor and has worked in television, radio and print.


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