Independent risk analysis for Straits pipeline


This was released as a Draft for Public Comment on July 20, 2018, and was requested by the Michigan DEQ and Natural Resources, the Michigan Agency for Energy, and the Michigan Office of the Attorney General following the recommendations of in the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report of July 2015. The task force was established following the worst oil spill in history when Enbridge Line 6b, circa 1960’s, spilled over one million gallons of crude oil in the Kalamazoo River in 2010. Current task force members are co-chairs Bill Schuette, attorney general, and Dan Wyant, director, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, plus heads/directors of the Michigan Public Service Commission, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, DEQ’s Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan State Police. All except Schuette are Governor Snyder appointees’. The analysis is 395 pages and can be found at the Michigan Petroleum Pipelines website: The Executive Summary is 34 pages and is the document I am referring to in this letter to the editor. Nine universities were involved, as well as a handful of federal and private representatives. This documents oil spill maps are interesting. Figure ES4 shows a maximum January spill covering the shores of Mackinac Island, Bois Blanc Island, Alpena, the Georgian Bay Islands to Stokes Bay, Canada. ES5 depicts a February spill coating the shorelines of these same islands, plus Mackinac City, the Beaver Island group, and the Manitou Islands and south to Frankfort! Plus, the shorelines from St. Ignace to the Garden Peninsula, down to Washington Island, the Door County Peninsula then Sheboygan, Wis.! Oil recovery on surface water states “Performance of booms, Current Busters, and skimmers degrades rapidly with increasing waves and becomes impossible when waves exceed approximately 1.5 meters. Recovery efficiency decreases as the oil spreads because thinner layers are more difficult to collect. Ice cover hinders deployment of open water equipment, but ice may be beneficial because it can be used as a natural containment system and may protect the shoreline from oil. Skimmers can recover oil through holes and slots cut into the ice. In situ burning of ice- trapped oil could be feasible.”…all theoretical. Enbridge officials met with the Escanaba City Council recently and the topic of pipeline anchor strikes came up. “As part of our agreement with the state of Michigan, we’re looking into technology that will mitigate anchor strikes, “ said Emma Cook, member of Enbridge’s Community Engagement Team, noting technology would probably take the form of an electronic alert system for boats crossing the straits. Probably? Stop a 12,000 pound dragging anchor with electronics? That’s ludicrous. Nothing can prevent that. Rick Snyder and Bill Schuette have been “dragging” their feet regarding removing Line 5 for years. The Enbridge plan to build a tunnel under the straits is insane and we as Michiganders all must demand that Enbridge build a new line across Canada, period. They can afford it! Enough’s enough!

Gerry Niedermaier