NTSB issues report on Line 5 anchor strike

Enbridge Line 5 Straits of Mackinac 072215_111054

UNDATED (WOOD) — A federal report lays out how a barge dragged a six-ton anchor across the oil pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac in April 2018.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found that the crew failed to lift the anchor, saying one of them thought it was broken and couldn’t be dropped in the first place. The report says no one double-checked before the barge passed through the straits.

>>Online: NTSB report

The anchor hit Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, but didn’t cause much damage. It also tore through about $100 million in electrical cables that run along the lakebed, causing insulation fluid to leak into the straits, which connect Lakes Michigan and Huron.

The NTSB report prompted Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, to release a statement saying she’s ready to file a lawsuit to get the embattled pipeline shut down as soon as possible:

Canada-based Enbridge, which owns and operates the line, said it is moving forward with a plan to start building a protective pipeline tunnel in the straits in 2021 and complete it by 2024, a timeline put forth amid negotiations with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, also a Democrat.

Critics say that leaves the line vulnerable for too long. Studies have found that an oil spill in the straits would be catastrophic for the Great Lakes.

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