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Environmental groups sue the Coast Guard over pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac

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Posted at 11:39 AM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 11:39:08-04

Two advocacy groups say the U.S. Coast Guard doesn't have an adequate strategy for dealing with oil spills in the channel linking Lakes Huron and Michigan.

The Coast Guard approved a plan last year for responding to spills in northern Michigan, including the Straits of Mackinac. A section of Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5 oil pipeline runs beneath the straits.

In a federal suit filed Wednesday, the Environmental Law & Policy Center and the National Wildlife Federation say Coast Guard leaders have acknowledged they're unprepared to clean up a spill in open Great Lakes waters.

They say Line 5 cannot legally operate without a valid response plan.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Paul Rhynard declined comment on the suit but said the Guard has a "robust" process for approving oil spill plans.