There’s more to the Line 5 story

To the Journal editor:

Line 5 travels 554 miles in Michigan and 91 miles in Wisconsin for a total of 645 miles before reaching the St. Clair River and Sarnia. The Straits crossing amounts to just 4.5 miles.

Enbridge wants to build a tunnel at the Straits to protect against spills. If it takes 10 years to obtain the permitting and build the tunnel, the project would be complete in 2029. But the “on-shore” portion of Line 5 – roughly 640 miles – was installed in 1953. In 2029, the vast majority of Line 5 will be 76 years old.

But the story doesn’t stop there. If Enbridge prevails and builds the tunnel, they will have a 99-year lease to operate it. Let’s see: 99 + 76 = 175 years. Assuming the 640 miles of Line 5 that is “on-shore” is not replaced, it would be 175 years old!

Surely Enbridge plans to replace the “on-shore” portion before it is 175 years old. Or do they? They have not revealed any plans to do so, but instead have insisted the pipeline can last “forever.”

Making matters worse, much of the “on-shore” portion has a wall thickness just over 0.25 inches, whereas the portion at the Straits is slightly over 0.8 inches thick.

Line 5 crosses 400 wetlands, streams and rivers that empty into the Great Lakes. An “on-shore” rupture could be as devastating as a rupture at the Straits.

Line 5 has had at least 28 documented spills between 1968 and 2015, totaling more than 1 million gallons.

We cannot trust Enbridge to keep their Canadian crude oil out of our Great Lakes, and our inland lakes, rivers and wetlands. Line 5 must be shut down and the tunnel abandoned.


M.S., P.e.

Brutus, Michigan


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)