Acting Army assistant secretary announces USACE will conduct an EIS for Enbridge Line 5

By Richard LevineJune 23, 2021

WASHINGTON -- The acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works announced today that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will proceed with an environmental impact statement for the Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership Line 5 permit application.

“I have concluded that an EIS is the most appropriate level of review because of the potential for impacts significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” said Jaime A. Pinkham, acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “USACE will ensure all potential impacts and reasonable alternatives associated with this project are thoroughly analyzed and will ultimately support a decision on the permit application. The USACE received thousands of public comments and tribal input on the proposed project, which warrant further review through an EIS, including potential impacts to navigation.”

The Army will ensure all voices are heard in an open, transparent and public process through development of the EIS and is committed to ensuring that meaningful and robust consultation with tribal nations occurs per President Biden’s Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships, January 26, 2021. The Army is committed to producing a thorough and timely EIS that rigorously explores and objectively evaluates all reasonable alternatives to render a decision within the scope of its authorities.

With the Line 5 project, Enbridge Energy is proposing to construct a tunnel under the bed of the Straits of Mackinac between Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, Mackinac County, and McGulpin Point, Mackinaw City, Emmet County, Michigan. This tunnel would house a new 30-inch pipeline for light crude oil and liquid natural gas, replacing the existing dual submerged pipelines crossing the Straits of Mackinac, which have been in operation since 1953. USACE published a public notice and held a public hearing in December 2020, and received more than 15,000 comments regarding the Line 5 project. The comments are being reviewed and the application is being evaluated in accordance with federal regulations and policies. Under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the USACE authority is limited to the proposed crossing of the Straits of Mackinac and impacts to adjacent wetlands.

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