fbpx

Great Lakes Now Presents

Episode 1024: The Battle Over Line 5 Goes International

Carrying oil through the waters of the Straits of Mackinac, the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline is arguably the biggest international, political and environmental issue in the Great Lakes region. Now, with a state-ordered shutdown, rigorous company defenses, debates about acceptable risk, and local jobs at stake, the legal fight involves courts, state politics, and tribal, Canadian and U.S. governments.

Explore Episode

The Battle Over Line 5 Goes International- Episode 1024

Carrying oil through the waters of the Straits of Mackinac, the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline is arguably the biggest international, political and environmental issue in the Great Lakes region. Now, with a state-ordered shutdown, rigorous company defenses, debates about acceptable risk, and local jobs at stake, the legal fight involves courts, state politics, and tribal, Canadian and U.S. governments.

 

WHERE WE TAKE YOU IN APRIL



 

Have a question about the Great Lakes or life in the region?

Ask Great Lakes Now, and if we can answer it, we might loop it into our coverage so others can learn too.

Submit Your Question

 

When to Watch?

Check your local station for when Great Lakes Now is on in your area.

Premiered on DPTV

Tuesday, April 27, at 7:30 PM

STATIONS CARRYING THE SERIES


DPTV
Detroit, Michigan

WEAO
Akron, Ohio

WNEO-TV
Alliance, Ohio

WCML-TV
Alpena, Michigan

WDCP-TV
Bad Axe, Michigan

BCTV
Bay County, Michigan

WBGU-TV
Bowling Green, Ohio

WNED-TV
Buffalo, New York

WCMV-TV
Cadillac, Michigan

WTTW-TV
Chicago, Illinois

WVIZ-TV
Cleveland, Ohio

WKAR-TV
East Lansing, Michigan

WQLN-TV
Erie, Pennsylvania

WCMZ-TV
Flint, Michigan

WGVU-TV
Grand Rapids, Michigan

WPNE-TV
Green Bay, Wisconsin

WGVK-TV
Kalamazoo, Michigan

WHLA-TV
La Crosse, Wisconsin

WHA-TV
Madison, Wisconsin

WNMU-TV
Marquette, Michigan

WHWC-TV
Menomonie-Eau Claire, Wisconsin

WMVS-TV
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

WCMU-TV
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

WLEF-TV
Park Falls, Wisconsin

WNIT-TV
South Bend, Indiana

WCNY-TV
Syracuse, New York

WGTE-TV
Toledo, Ohio

WDCQ-TV
University Center, Michigan

WNPI-TV
Watertown, New York for Ontario signal

WPBS-TV
Watertown, New York for U.S. signal

WHRM-TV
Wausau, Wisconsin

In the Month of April on Great Lakes Now

Click the tabs to read descriptions of each feature in Episode 1024.

From the National Wildlife Federation: Divers inspect Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

Watch The Feature

The Battle Over Line 5 Goes International

SEGMENT 1 | Straits of Mackinac; Sarnia, Ontario; Ottawa, Ontario; Lansing, Michigan; Superior, Wisconsin

Under the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron, twin pipelines stretch 4.5 miles across the lakebed and carry more than 20 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids every day. The pipelines are part of Enbridge’s Line 5, the pipeline at the center of one of the biggest political and environmental battles in the Great Lakes.

What started as a state-level issue in Michigan now involves Canadian and U.S. officials in government and the energy industry.

A little history: The state of Michigan granted an easement for the construction and operation of Line 5 in 1953 in a document that requires the pipeline to have a protective outer layer and a maximum distance of 75 feet between supports. The easement includes broader requirements, too.

“The easement mandates that Enbridge needs to exercise the due care of a reasonably prudent person in its operation of the pipeline,” says reporter Kelly House, who has reported on Line 5 for Bridge Michigan. “And, you know, given where the debate over the pipeline is now, the question really is whether or not Enbridge is exercising due care in protecting the Straits from a potential oil spill.”

Line 5 became controversial after another Enbridge pipeline — Line 6b — ruptured in 2010, spilling oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River in Marshall, Michigan. Since then, inspections of Line 5’s underwater pipelines have raised concerns about the risk of a spill, especially after the lines were struck by an anchor in 2018. While Enbridge has insisted the pipeline is safe to operate, opposition to Line 5 has grown, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have both taken action to shut the pipelines down. Whitmer revoked the pipeline’s 1953 easement in November of 2020, setting a deadline of May 12, 2021 for the oil to stop flowing, but Enbridge has said they will not comply with the order.

As the deadline approaches, the courts, state and federal regulators, and the heads of the U.S. and Canadian federal governments all have a role to play in the resolution.

Here are some other Great Lakes Now stories about pipelines:

WATCH:  Turtles vs. Oil

WATCH: Line 5 Archive

WATCH: Polluting with Purpose Segment

WATCH: Enbridge Line 5 Update Segment – July 2019

WATCH: Beneath the Surface

Videos from Episode 1024

Subscribe on YouTube

Previous Episodes

Featured Articles

Thousand Island Dressing Mystery: Uncertain origins of one of America’s favorite sauces
- by Rachel Duckett

What is the original recipe? It’s a different story depending on who is asked.

The Suckers: Great Lakes’ “best supporting fishes” are important to the food web
- by Sandra Svoboda

Karen Murchie, director of freshwater research at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, talked all about suckers and what they mean for the Great Lakes in this Q&A with GLN Host Ward Detwiler.

Some Chicagoans Wary of Lead Pipe Replacement
- by Circle of Blue

The response to Chicago’s lead pipe replacement project is a story playing out in neighborhoods across the country. Government public interest initiatives, even with the best of intentions and resources, are being curtailed by mistrust.

Saving Shipwrecks and Sturgeon – Episode 1027
- by Christina Amato

Marine sanctuaries protect shipwrecks while volunteers guard sturgeon against poachers.    

Digital Credits
The Great Lakes Now Series is produced by Rob Green and Sandra Svoboda.