Next week, Michigan officials plan to publicly release a highly anticipated draft report about potential alternative routes for an aging oil and gas pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Michigan and Huron.
Nearly a year after advocates raised transparency concerns over the hiring of two companies to study Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, the state has canceled its contract with one of the firms, citing a conflict of interest.
Advocates with the National Wildlife Federation say they’ve uncovered more oil and gas spills from Enbridge’s Line 5 than they previously thought, raising questions about how leaks are reported and whether there have been more. The group said Monday it has found at least 29 instances of oil and natural gas liquids spills totaling more than one million gallons over the course of the pipeline’s 64-year history. That’s nearly double the amount the group previously thought had occurred. The 29 spills, which were mostly detected by the public and local government personnel rather than the company’s remote pipeline detection system, date back to 1968, according to a map of the data. The group also says its findings shed light on the history of Line 5’s inland path — which runs from northern Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario — while much of the attention has focused on the underwater section beneath the Straits of Mackinac.
Michigan officials are considering the need for a longer-term funding solution for the state’s oil and gas regulatory program as the recent drop in oil and gas prices have increasingly shifted oversight costs from the industry onto taxpayers.
Michigan State University researcher Kyle Powys Whyte has published essays and scholarly articles on how the Dakota Access project represents what he describes as an ongoing form of U.S. colonialism over Native Americans.
The latest state budget from Ohio Gov. John Kasich renews his effort to increase the severance tax for oil and natural gas. And once again, that proposal is meeting with opposition from some state lawmakers and leaders in the state’s oil and gas industry.
As political discussions in the U.S. focus on the future of fossil fuel industries, an event in Ohio last week explored a future with no fossil fuels at all.
Advocates say Michigan officials are delaying potential action to close oil pipelines running beneath the Straits of Mackinac by undergoing a pair of studies that could take up to 18 months to complete.
Advocates who live near the BP refinery outside Chicago say recent fines for pollution violations are “less than a drop in the bucket” for the company.
Groups that have been closely involved with Michigan officials’ inquiry into the safety of oil pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac say the ongoing process is moving too slowly and continues to favor the company.