Judge shuts down energy pipeline in Michigan’s Great Lakes

Enbridge Line 5 Straits of Mackinac 072215_111054

A file image of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

DETROIT (AP) — A judge shut down an energy pipeline in Michigan’s Great Lakes on Thursday, granting a request from the state after the owner reported problems with a support piece deep below the surface.

Enbridge Inc. has not provided enough information to show that continued operation of the west leg of its Line 5 twin pipeline is safe, Ingham County Judge James Jamo said in approving a temporary restraining order.

Enbridge’s Line 5 carries oil and natural gas liquids used in propane from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario.

A four-mile segment divides into two pipes that lie on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.

Enbridge last week said an anchor support on the east leg of the pipeline had shifted. The company said Line 5 itself was not damaged and that no oil spilled into the water.

The east leg remains shut down, but Enbridge resumed the flow on the west line Saturday.

The judge said Line 5 must be closed “as immediately as possible.”

Line 5 delivers 65% of the propane that heats Upper Peninsula homes and 55% of Michigan’s propane needs, according to Enbridge. It has been operating since 1953.

“With the continued operation of this pipeline, the risk of severe and lasting environmental damage to Michigan’s most important natural resource continues to grow every day,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.