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Lansing – Legislation advancing in Michigan would prohibit vessels from dropping anchor in the Straits of Mackinac – where oil, electric and other underwater cables rest.

The bills approved overwhelmingly Wednesday by the state House next go to the Senate.

They would prohibit ships from using anchors in the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge. Exceptions would be made for emergencies or with state permission.

Gov. Rick Snyder in May approved an emergency rule barring anchors in the waterway, after a tugboat anchor struck oil and electrical lines and caused an insulation spill. The rule is in place for six months and can be extended another six months.

The legislation also would require additional no-anchor signs in the area.

On Wednesday, Canadian oil giant Enbridge Inc. agreed to pay for construction of a nearly four-mile tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac to house a replacement for its controversial Line 5 pipeline.

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