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The End of the Line: Shutting Down Enbridge Line 5; Still a Pipedream?

June 2017

Paul Leahy


The article is a detailed look into the issues with current laws surrounding oil pipelines, looking specifically at the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline in Northern Michigan. One of the problems highlighted is the lack of transparency from Enbridge on the true condition of the pipeline and the likeliness of an oil spill into the Great Lakes. They use the “confidential business information” designation to withhold information from the public and do not regularly release inspection reports when requested by the State of Michigan. The article also argues that most pipeline-related law is reactive instead of proactive and focus on the aftermath of a spill instead of how to prevent them

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Policy Implications

The article suggests a shift of focus to how to hold companies like Enbridge accountable in preventing spills from happening, instead of how to compensate for damages after a spill. Current federal pipeline laws limit the public on their knowledge and involvement of the pipeline; which prevents them from knowing the true danger that exists with having an oil pipeline in the Great Lakes.

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