Michigan Senate committee OKs Straits oil pipeline bill

Michigan
Enbridge Line 5 Straits of Mackinac 072215_111054

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislation moving in Michigan’s Senate would authorize the Mackinac Bridge Authority to help implement a deal to replace twin oil pipelines in a crucial Great Lakes channel.

The Republican-led Senate Government Operations Committee passed the bill 3-2 on party lines Wednesday, but the full Senate delayed voting so changes can be made.

The measure could be amended and taken up as early as Thursday.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration says the bridge authority is the logical choice to oversee a proposed pipeline tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said more discussion was needed, and Snyder’s office was considering changes to the proposal.

Opponents of the agreement say the authority’s mission should not be altered so significantly.

In October, the Snyder administration and Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge announced a deal to replace the 65-year-old oil pipes that critics describe as an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Snyder hopes to lock in the hotly contested deal before leaving office.

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