A package of bills has passed out of the State House, aimed at increasing protections for the Line 5 Pipeline.
Lawmakers behind the bill package say an anchor strike on pipes beneath the Straits in April prompted them to seek increased protections around the Straits.
Republican Representative Sue Allor is one of the bill sponsors. She says the area under the straits is not currently protected under state statute.
“Everybody thought it was in statute or that it was a no anchor zone so we had to create a bill to identify it as a no anchor zone.”
Allor said the measure would also create reporting requirements on pipeline safety for pipeline operators.
“And so we are not placing additional reporting on them but requiring that the reports that they provide to the federal government are also provided to us at the same time.”
Republican Representative Tristan Cole is one of the bill sponsors. He said the measure would create clear signage for vessels passing through the Straits identifying the waterway as a no anchor zone.
“What we want to ensure is that captains of vessels that are traveling through the straits, and it’s a heavily traveled corridor, are doing a double, triple, quadruple check to ensure they are not dragging an anchor or inadvertently dropping an anchor inside that no anchor zone.”
The bills establish a $10,000 fine for the first violation and a $15,000 fine for the second.
The bills have not yet been taken up by the Senate.