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Michigan approves Great Lakes oil pipeline tunnel permits

Activists protest Enbridge pipeline at the Capitol
Posted at 8:32 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 20:32:15-05

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Michigan’s environmental agency is approving construction of an underground tunnel to house a replacement for a controversial oil pipeline in the Great Lakes.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Engery awarded permits to Enbridge for the $500 million tunnel project that would replace the existing Line 5 twin pipes in the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

The company is resisting Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's order to shut down Line 5.

Officials at EGLE say the tunnel is a separate issue from the fight over the existing line and Enbridge's application for the project satisfied legal requirements.

Another agency, the Michigan Public Service Commission will decide whether to approve a new pipe to run through the tunnel, which is scheduled for completion in 2024. The tunnel project was approved under a deal between Enbridge and the state during final month of Governor Snyder's administration.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is also reviewing the plans.