Enbridge trying to retrieve 15,000-pound anchor left in Straits by contractor
The State of Michigan has directed Enbridge Energy to remove a 15,000-pound anchor left in the Straits of Mackinac by a contractor for the company.
An Enbridge barge lowered the anchor during work but, due to an equipment failure, was unable to retrieve the anchor, according to the company.
"On July 21, 2021, an Enbridge contractor was conducting seasonal maintenance of Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac in accordance with work plans approved by EPA and the state," said Ryan Duffy, a spokesman for the company. "In the process, as an anchor was placed at the bottom of the lake, it became detached from the anchor cable."
The state was notified of the anchor by Enbridge on Wednesday, said Hugh McDiarmid, a spokesman for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.
Duffy said the anchor poses "no harm nor risk" to the pipelines. It is located between the twin segments, 500 feet from either line, according to a "pre-approved anchoring plan."
"The detached anchor is being recovered," said Duffy, who added it could be recovered within the next few days. "We are sharing this information to be fully transparent and to allay any fears that might be generated by rumors or otherwise."
The state and Enbridge have been locked in litigation for more than a year over the future of the 68-year-old Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac after years of concern over the possibility of an oil spill in the straits.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revoked the pipeline's easement in November, but Enbridge refused to stop operations absent a court order. The two parties are expected to complete arbitration in late August.
Former Gov. Rick Snyder entered an agreement with Enbridge in 2018 for the construction of an about $500 million utility tunnel that will house new segments of Line 5.
The agreement with Enbridge came months after an April 1, 2018, anchor strike that gouged the line when a tug and barge accidentally dragged a 12,000-pound anchor across the pipeline.