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State requests more info from Enbridge on engineering, safety of proposed pipeline

Screenshot from Michigan Public Service Commission meeting
Commissioners listen to public comment during the July 7 Michigan Public Service Commission meeting.

After nearly two years of deliberation and public comment, the Michigan Public Service Commission still isn’t ready to make a decision on Enbridge’s application to relocate Line 5.

Enbridge’s application needs approval from the MPSC to build a new pipeline inside the company’s proposed tunnel.

Alissa Day is a staff member for the commission. She said Enbridge needs to present more information before the commission will approve the application.

“After a review of the testimony exhibits and briefing on record in this case, the order before you find that the record is deficient of certain information relating to tunnel engineering and safety, and the risk of fire and/or explosion related to electrical equipment,” Day said.

Public comment drew dozens of Line 5 opponents. Some were frustrated that the Enbridge request is still being discussed. Others thanked the commission for not approving the application yet.

Eric Aronoff, who spoke at public comment, said he believes Enbridge's application fails to meet the commission’s standards - and commissioners are in “good standing” to reject the company.

“If you couldn’t shut down the pipeline project today, I’m pleased you’re at least asking or even demanding from Enbridge more information," he said. "I would reiterate some of the previous speakers and say I really hope you hold Enbridge’s feet to the fire.”

An Enbridge spokesperson said the company will continue to work with the commission to address any of their remaining questions.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.