Peters questions officials about Line 5 safety

Enbridge Line 5 Straits of Mackinac 072215_111054

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WOOD) — Officials discussed how to protect the Great Lakes in the event of an oil spill at a hearing in Traverse City Monday.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, questioned two panels of experts, including representatives from federal and private agencies and Canada-based energy company Enbridge. The meeting was billed as a field hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, of which Peters is a member.

Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipelines, which run under the Straits of Mackinac, were a major topic of discussion. The twin pipelines have been the subject of controversy for a while, with officials’ distrust deepening after they were hit by a tug boat anchor and damaged earlier this year.

“We need to be focused on how we find an alternative using the already existing web of pipes that transport material and do it in a much safer way than going through the Straits of Mackinac, which is the absolute most dangerous place anywhere in the Great Lakes to have a pipeline, especially one that’s over 60 years old,” Peters said.

Enbridge officials said there is a 24-hour control center monitoring Line 5 that could close it in minutes. The company says it is not worried about the pipeline.

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