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Michigan gets deal to keep controversial oil pipeline running

Michigan gets deal to keep controversial oil pipeline running

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and Enbridge Inc. reached a deal Monday for the company to increase safety precautions on its controversial Line 5 petroleum pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

The agreement means Enbridge can, for the time being, keep operating the line, despite intense scrutiny in recent years from regulators and environmentalists.

Line 5 is decades old, and regulators have said it is at risk of leaking due to corrosion, anchors, missing coating and other factors.

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“Business as usual by Enbridge is not acceptable and we are going to ensure the highest level of environmental safety standards are implemented to protect one of Michigan’s most valuable natural resources,” Snyder said in a statement.

“The items required in this agreement are good strides forward. The state is evaluating the entire span of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline and its future, but we cannot wait for the analyses to be completed before taking action to defend our waterways.”

The binding deal means Enbridge must replace a portion of the line under the St. Clair River, study the feasibility of replacing the line under the Straits of Mackinac, shut down the line during adverse weather and improve monitoring for leaks, among other steps.

“We hope the agreement is a step in a positive direction to demonstrate our commitment to doing the right thing to serve Michigan and protect the waters of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are a treasure that must be preserved now and for future generations,” Enbridge said in a statement of its own.