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MSPC denies Enbridge Energy's request for relief on Line 5 project

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Posted at 12:52 PM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 12:52:11-04

MICH. — The Michigan Public Service Commission has denied Enbridge Energy's request for a declaratory ruling and also rejected the company's request for approval for plans to relocate the Line 5 Pipeline to a tunnel located beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Back in April, Enbridge filed an application requesting siting approval under Act 16 of 1929 to replace and relocate the Line 5 section in the Straits of Mackinac to a new tunnel that would be built beneath the lakebed, according to a press release.

Enbridge requested a declaratory ruling from MPSC stating the company already has the authority to build the replacement segment based on an MPSC 1953 order, which originally granted permission for Line 5, the news release states.

The 645-mile interstate pipeline reaches across both Michigan peninsulas and transports light crude oil and natural gas liquids including propane.

However on Tuesday, MPSC decided, based on Enbridge's application and the comments received from stakeholders, that the Line 5 project "differs substantially from the pipeline approved in 1953, and therefore the company does not have authority for the project under the 1953 order," the release says.

Although MPSC approved the 20-inch pipelines constructed on the lakebed, Enbridge is proposing replacing them with a single 30-inch pipeline inside of a concrete-lined tunnel 60-250 feet beneath the lakebed, which would involve a new easement and a 99-year lease of public trust property, the news release states.

Following the order, MPSC said a notice hearing will be issued with information on scheduling a prehearing conference and deadline for parties looking to intervene in the formal contested case proceeding.

For more information on Enbridge's application and related requests, click here. Background information on Application 16 can be found here.

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