Enbridge, the Canadian midstream company, expects to complete the mediation process for its Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac by the end of August; the parties told a federal judge last week, and local news media outlets reported it.
Firstly, parties will meet with their mediator on August 11, the former Detroit U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen. Meetings with the judge began in April; as the controversy over the 68-year-old pipeline mounted in past months.
Secondly, according to the Detroit News, Enbridge will “work cooperatively to reconcile interests; also, resolve disputes and move forward through the mediation process.” Said Ryan Duffy, company’s spokesperson, last Friday.
Thirdly, Duffy said in a statement. “We understand the stakes in this matter are important not only for Enbridge and the state; but for many others throughout the region that have strong interest in its outcome.”
Moreover, he remarked that meanwhile Line 5 will be operating freely, but in a responsible manner, to efficiently deliver its goods to the energy industry in the region. In fact, the pipeline currently carries 540,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids a day through the Straits.
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Enbridge keeps going with expansion plan
In addition, the company is trying to expand the pipeline, and replace a segment of the pipeline with a new one; however, operations may put underneath water reservoirs in danger. Consequently, Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, in November revoked Enbridge’s easement through the Straits of Mackinac; and also, ordered the company by May 12 to shut down the dual pipeline.
Furthermore, she argued that Enbridge had “persistent and incurable violations” of the easement; as well as violations of the public trust document. The company, on the other hand, has it cured whatever violations cropped up during the lifetime of the pipeline.
Additionally, the company refused to close the pipeline, arguing that only the federal courts, and not state’s had the power to shut it down; as the pipeline crosses state borders. The company also removed Michigan’s suit from state court to a federal one. According to Detroit News, the state continues to fight the removal of the case to the conservative-leaning federal court.
Finally, while the litigation continues, Enbridge keeps going with the plans to build an estimated $500 million tunnel beneath the Straits; to replace the old segment of the pipeline; which represents a threat of leaking.