VanderWall applauds decision to issue some Line 5 permits

‘This puts us one step closer to seeing a new pipeline’

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall on Friday applauded the decision by a state agency that could help ensure Northern Michigan retains access to a critical source of propane to heat its homes and businesses.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has issued some of the permits required for the building of a tunnel for the replacement Line 5 pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

“Line 5 is a vital source of energy for the 35th District, for the Upper Peninsula and for Northern Michigan as a whole,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “Building the tunnel to carry Line 5 is the best option to ensure we can continue to provide heat to the region. It is imperative that Line 5 remain operational while the tunnel is being completed.”

EGLE concluded that the proposed construction of a tunnel beneath the lakebed by the energy company Enbridge — the company operating Line 5 — can be done in compliance with Michigan’s environmental laws.

“EGLE determined in their review that the proposed tunnel project would have minimal impact on water quality in the Great Lakes, would not affect protected public uses of Michigan’s water resources and would result in minimal impact to wetlands,” VanderWall said. “This is all good news, and it puts us one step closer to seeing a new pipeline.”

Enbridge has pending requests for approval of the tunnel project before the Michigan Public Service Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Once completed, the new tunnel could also be used to carry electric lines, broadband cables and other utility infrastructure.