- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - About two dozen environmental groups and tribes allege in a letter sent to Gov. Rick Snyder and other state officials that an Enbridge pipeline running through the Straits of Mackinac violates state and federal law.

Twenty-two groups signed the letter and released it to media on Wednesday, following a news teleconference in which they alleged the pipeline also violates a 60-year-old state easement because of certain defects like not being thick enough in some areas and not having wooden slats underneath the pipe, which they claim have rotted away.

Liz Kirkwood, executive director of environmental advocacy group For Love of Water, said it is clear Enbridge is violating eight provisions of the state easement, and that the company will be unable to fix the alleged violations in the 90-day period “stipulated by the easement” because they are inherent to the pipe’s engineering. The groups are calling on the state to terminate the easement allowing the company to use the pipeline.

Michigan Attorney General spokeswoman Andrea Bitely said the letter is “under review,” and that the office is “actively working with the taskforce to get all needed studies done as soon as possible.”

Melanie Brown, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Quality, did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday morning.

Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said the company is in full compliance with state and federal laws and easement requirements, and that the environmental groups are simply “sensationalizing” and taking out of context certain information that the company voluntarily disclosed on its website.

Duffy called the claims “scare tactics” that “only serve to create a climate of concern and uncertainty on a pipeline that has safely operated across the Straits since its installation.”

He said the pipeline is not too thin in certain areas, although he said “there are a few … anomalies,” describing variations in the metal that look “kind of like a birthmark.”

The groups have no plans to take legal action, but they are standing by their claims.

“To say that Enbridge is in compliance with all of the legal requirements of the easement is not true,” Kirkwood told The Associated Press

A state task force last year proposed independent analyses of risks posed by the twin pipelines operated by Enbridge. The lines carry about 23 million gallons of oil daily beneath the straits, where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet.

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