Enbridge announced the restarting of the east segment of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac after receiving authorization from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and approval from the Michigan Circuit Court.
“This is relieving news to propane companies dependent upon supply from Sarnia [Ontario], especially NYPGA members in the Western half of New York,” Bruce Whitney, executive director of the New York Propane Gas Association, said in the association’s Sept. 22 newsletter emailed to members. The Michigan Circuit Court had previously asked Enbridge to keep the east leg of the twin pipeline offline while it performed an inspection following some movement on a screw anchor discovered this summer, according to the NYPGA newsletter.
“In all instances of concern relative to propane supply, NYPGA advises members to be in close contact with their trusted supply and transportation partners to ensure the smooth and uninterrupted delivery of propane throughout their contract term.”
Vern Yu, Enbridge’s executive vice president and president of liquids pipelines, said in a statement, “The decision to allow the restart of the east segment of Line 5 is very positive for the many residents and businesses in Michigan and the Great Lakes region who depend on the energy Line 5 delivers. Enbridge will continue to focus on the safe operation of the dual Line 5 pipelines at the Straits of Mackinac, ensuring the Great Lakes are protected while also reliably delivering the energy and feedstock that helps to fuel Michigan’s and the region’s economy.”
In its Sept. 9 statement, Enbridge said it had kept the state of Michigan “fully advised of the status of the west and east segment investigations and will continue to do so.
“Following a review of the data from an in-line inspection of the east segment in the area around the damaged screw anchor, PHMSA indicated in a letter to Enbridge dated September 4, 2020, that, ‘The review by PHMSA and its independent third-party expert did not identify any integrity issues. As no integrity issues have been identified in the area around the displaced anchor, PHMSA has no objection to Enbridge restarting the east leg of Line 5.’”
The west segment returned to operation in July.
Line 5 has served Michiganders safely without incident at the Straits crossing for more than 65 years, Enbridge said, further stating:
“Our focus remains on protecting the Great Lakes, the environment and all the people who use these waters while delivering energy that people rely on daily and that fuels our economy.
“As safety and protecting the environment are as important to us as they are to all Michiganders, we continue to work toward and look forward to the day when a replacement for the Line 5 dual pipelines is encased safely in a tunnel below the waters of the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge Inc., headquartered in Calgary, Canada, is an energy infrastructure company whose core businesses include liquids pipelines, which transport crude oil produced in North America; gas transmission and midstream, which transports natural gas consumed in the U.S.; and gas distribution and storage, which serves approximately 3.8 million retail customers in Ontario and Quebec.