CPA Files Submission with Michigan Safety Board to Support Enbridge Line 5

On August 3, 2017, the CPA filed a submission with the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board in support of the continuation of Enbridge Line 5. The Advisory Board is currently reviewing the future of Line 5 and is considering alternate routes and upgraded pipelines.

Enbridge Line 5 runs from Superior, Wisconsin, under the Straits of Mackinac through Michigan to Sarnia. It connects Alberta and Bakken Crude/propane supplies to NGL fractionators and oil refineries in the Sarnia area.

In its submission, the CPA pointed out the importance of Line 5, its impact on the integrated North American energy economy and the high degree of confidence the CPA has in the maintenance and safety of Line 5.

For the propane industry in the U.S. and Canada, the Association stated that Enbridge Line 5 is a critical link for transporting natural gas liquids (NGLs, including propane) from their source to final markets in Michigan, Canada and surrounding U.S. states. 

The CPA expressed that any changes to the operation of Line 5 will have a significant negative impact on propane supplies into these markets; it will reduce available quantities due to lack of remaining infrastructure, increase transportation fees and ultimately push up energy costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for all affected consumers. In addition, without Line 5, there could be a risk of unaccountable outages of energy in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario.

The CPA also pointed out that the propane industry, through the supply it receives from Line 5, is important to the prosperity of the Great Lakes regional economy in many ways, including creating jobs, generating revenue and taxes, and of course, providing an affordable and low-emission energy fuel. 

The CPA also noted that safety and protecting the environment is a top priority and that it believes that pipelines are the safest way to transport oil and gas. Enbridge’s Line 5 Straits of Mackinac crossing was built for an underwater environment, and still exceeds today’s standards for pipeline safety. The twin pipelines under the Straits have not experienced any leaks in six decades of operation—a testament to their design, construction, and maintenance regimen. Furthermore, Line 5 is monitored 24/7 and inspected by a dedicated team.

The CPA concluded by stating that, "Considering the closure of Line 5 would have a significant negative economic impact in the U.S. and in Canada, the CPA urges the Board to consider all the relevant facts, including the independent safety evaluation of the Line 5 pipeline published in the Alternatives Analysis. The CPA hopes that the Board will conclude that Line 5 must continue to be a critical link for transporting propane into Michigan."

The Ontario Minister of Energy, Glenn Thibeault, provided comments indicating that Line 5 is a critical piece of infrastructure to Ontario, its petrochemical industry in Sarnia and the Great Lakes region on the whole.

Douglas George, Consul General of Canada to Michigan, also provided comments, indicating that our robust regulatory and inspection regime ensures safe operations of our pipelines and confirms that the pipeline is fit for service.  He further added that Line 5 is a significant supply source for the Sarnia region and enables one of the largest and most profitable trade relationships in the world, with $71.8 billion of annual two-way trade in goods.

The CPA’s submission and arguments for the continuation of Line 5 are being used in local news stories. See the latest: Ontario calls Michigan pipeline ‘critical’ infrastructure.