Fishing Advisory Group Asks Energy Company To Replace Underwater Pipeline

U.S.-Canadian Panel Worries That Enbridge Pipeline Running Through Mackinac Straits May Rupture

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Advisers to a Great Lakes fishing organization are urging a pipeline company to replace an underwater pipe where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron.

A U.S.-Canadian panel advising the Great Lakes Fishery Commission wants the Enbridge Corporation to immediately replace a pipeline that runs through the straits of Mackinac. The committee said it worries the 60-year-old pipes are at risk of rupturing and causing severe damage at the north end of lakes Michigan and Huron.

Al House of Washburn, a vice-chair of the committee, said asking Enbridge to do more would set a good precedent given the possibility of a new pipeline terminal at Superior.

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“Having been in business for 32 years myself, what I’ve found is that companies build something, and obviously the minimum they have to put into it, the more profit they make,” said House. “What I think we have to do here is drive home the point to those companies that they have to continue to spend money to upgrade these and prevent environmental damage.”

House says the anglers advisory board is not asking for the pipeline to be shut down, because the United States and Canada still need lots of fossil fuels.

Enbridge spokesperson Jason Manshum said the Mackinac pipeline is monitored constantly.

“We have regular internal inspections that run inside the pipeline to look for such things like abnormalities – it could be dents, cracks, or corrosion,” said Manshum. “We also have external inspections, including dive teams.”

Manshum said there are no indications that the pipeline needs repairs or replacement.

In related news, on Wednesday, a group of U.S. and Canadian mayors asked their federal governments and companies connected to the issue to improve the safety of oil transportation across the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin.

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