The Straits of Mackinac connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan two of the Great Lakes. The straits divide the lower peninsula of Michigan from its upper peninsula. Underneath the blue water lurks a danger.
There are two pipelines that are beginning to degrade.
If only one pipeline ruptured the result could be a spill of up to 1.5 million gallons of oil assuming Enbridge, the company that owns the pipeline, is able to fix the pipeline quickly. University of Michigan, research scientist, Dave Schwab, said: "I can’t imagine another place in the Great Lakes where it’d be more devastating to have an oil spill.”
Enbridge is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It is the world's largest crude oil and hydrocarbons transporter, operating in both Canada and the United States. While the company insists the pipelines are safe it has a record of 800 spills between 1999 and 2010, resulting in 6.8 million gallons of spilled oil. In 2010 an Enbridge pipeline ruptured in the Kalamazoo River causing the largest inland spill in the US.
The Mackinac pipelines were built more than sixty years ago in 1953. Retired engineer Bruce Trudgen who worked on the pipelines said that at the time of construction the pipelines were supposed to last fifty years. Enbridge has decided that they can last considerably longer. Fortunately they have been correct so far.
In 2013 environmental advocates from the National Wilflife Federation, after not getting much information from the government or Enbridge, decided to check the pipeline condition themselves. They found broken structural braces, and sections where the pipeline was not supported at all. However, Jason Manshum, Enbridge public affairs specialist says such reports are misleading and that to think that a company such as Enbridge would not properly maintain a line is atrocious.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.