On Wednesday April 21, 2021, The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) ruled that the agency will limit the scope of the review to the new segment being constructed, but the Commission’s order (Case No. U-20763) concluded that greenhouse gas emissions are pollutants whose impact must be considered under the Michigan Environmental Protection Act (MEPA).
In December of 2020, the Commission ordered Wednesday’s rehearing of Enbridge's motion to limit the scope of the case, to consider the impact of a November 2020 decision by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to revoke and terminate the 1953 easement.
While this most recent ruling concluded that the replacement of the four-mile segment of Line 5 in the Straits is not cause for a review of the entire pipeline system with which the segment interconnects, the Commission determined that the Line 5 application review must include an examination of the allegations of greenhouse gas pollution raised by intervenors under MEPA.
The MPSC’s statement reads, “The Commission found that greenhouse gas emissions are pollutants under MEPA and permitted parties to introduce evidence addressing greenhouse gas emissions ’and any pollution, impairment, or destruction arising from the activity proposed in the application,’”
“Finding that the construction of the new 4-mile pipeline segment could not be separated from the products flowing through it, the Commission will also allow evidence to be presented on the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the fossil fuels being transported through the replacement segment.”
MOGA and Michigan Oil & Gas News will keep you informed as more information becomes available.
In response to the MPSC’s order, Enbridge released the following statement,
Enbridge is pleased that the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) agreed with the Administrative Law Judge’s rulings that the project under consideration is the four-mile pipeline segment replacement and that “the replacement of the four-mile segment of Line 5 in the Straits is not cause for a review of the entire pipeline system.”
We welcome the Commission’s finding, “that the issue of public need for the pipeline has been a long-settled matter since the pipeline was first approved in 1953, and that such approvals under law and Commission precedent do not contain time limits on such determinations. "
Enbridge will continue to work with the Commission on its review of our application and towards a successful conclusion to this proceeding.
Our aim is simple. To replace the two pipelines in the Straits with an even safer pipeline encased in a concrete tunnel well below the lakebed. This totally eliminates anchor strikes, improves safety and environmental protections, and continues to provide Michiganders and neighboring states with the energy they need.