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Enbridge says unsupported Line 5 segment widens, but poses no safety risk

Enbridge Inc. said an unsupported portion of the Line 5 oil pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac has exceeded the 75-foot limit set under an agreement with Michigan officials, but the segment "poses no integrity or safety risk to the pipeline."

The Calgary, Alberta-based company reported the span length to Michigan's Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and the Department of Natural Resources, believing that its December 2018 easement agreement with the state remains valid, according to an Aug. 7 news release.

Enbridge in March 2018 asked permission from the agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to install additional screw anchors that would address the unsupported span. The company has already secured the state permits but is still awaiting Corps approval to proceed with the installation.

"Enbridge has screw anchors and crew ready to install the span support as soon as the permit is received from the Corps and, weather permitting, the work can be completed within two business days," the company said.

Line 5 delivers about 23 million gallons of light crude oil and NGLs per day through the Upper Peninsula, including a four-mile stretch through the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge is set to build a $500 million tunnel to house the replacement for the pipeline in 2021 and put the new line in service as soon as early 2024 if there are no permit delays.