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Army Corps of Engineers holding public hearing for Enbridge Line 5 tunnel permit request

Enbridge Line 5 Tunnel figure illustrating tunnel construction, TBM retrieval and pipeline installation.

Posted on November 10, 2020

DETROIT — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold an online public hearing 1-4 p.m., December 7, 2020, to gather public comments on a permit request for a proposed Enbridge Line 5 pipeline tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac.

The online hearing and written comment period provide a second opportunity for the public to provide information for consideration in evaluating Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership’s permit application to construct a pipeline tunnel under the bed of Lake Michigan. Written comments are being accepted through December 17, 2020. The Corps’ initial public notice was issued May 15, 2020, and that comment period ended July 14, 2020.

A tunnel constructed under the Straits of Mackinac requires a Corps permit, and the Corps is reviewing the application under the authority of Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

The public hearing purpose is to acquire information which will be considered in evaluating the permit application and to afford the public an opportunity to present their views, opinions and information on the proposed permit action. Positive or negative comments about the project may be submitted. All written responses must refer to file number LRE-2010-00463-56-A19.

“The Corps will consider all comments presented orally during the December 7 hearing or received in writing through the December 17 deadline,” said Regulatory Project Manager Katie Otanez.

The Corps will host the hearing through an electronic platform and by telephone. Details on joining, including web links and call-in numbers, will be posted about a week before the hearing on the Detroit District website at Proposed project details, the public hearing notice and additional information are also available at that link.

Pre-registration for the online hearing is not required, but Corps officials are requesting anyone wanting to attend email The email should include:

  • Participant’s name
  • Organization (if any)
  • If they wish to comment at the hearing. Those not pre-registering will have an opportunity to comment.

Public hearing attendance is not required to submit written comments – they can be emailed to or submitted in writing, and postmarked by December 17, 2020, to:

Kerrie E. Kuhne
Chief, Permit Evaluation Western Branch
Regulatory Office
Corps of Engineers, Detroit District
477 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48226-2550

The Corps has not yet prepared an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. The online public hearing will be held in accordance with the procedures in 33 CFR part 327.

Any comments received will be considered in the Corps’ determination on whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects and other public interest factors. Comments are used in the preparation of an environmental assessment, environmental impact statement or both, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine whether the activity is contrary to the overall public interest.

The existing Enbridge Line 5 pipeline was constructed in 1953 to transport crude oil and natural gas liquids. Line 5 is 645 miles long in total, and transports products from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

Bill Dowell


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