- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

MARYSVILLE, Mich. (AP) - The federal government is considering a permit to allow the flow of heavy crude oil through a 98-year-old pipeline under the St. Clair River, a project that surprised environmental groups.

A 30-day public comment period expired last Wednesday with virtually no comments received by the U.S. State Department, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday (https://on.freep.com/1phDp31 ).

The newspaper said two 8-inch pipes were built in 1918. Five-inch liners were added at an unknown date.

The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline goes between Marysville and Canada, 55 miles northeast of Detroit. Sierra Club member Ed McArdle said he’s asking the government to extend the comment period.

“This is mind-blowing, really. … 1918?! Crude oil?!” said McArdle, who fears a catastrophe if the pipeline fails.

“The main drinking water intake for Detroit is at the north end of Belle Isle, right downstream from that,” he said. “Water intakes for other communities on both the U.S. and Canadian sides are all just downstream as well.”

An environmental review has not been performed, although the State Department said it is soliciting views from other federal agencies. The pipeline is controlled by Houston-based Plains LPG, which didn’t comment on the application.

David Barber, a Marysville City Council member and retired fire inspector, said he’s concerned about the age of pipes.

The year when the extra liner was installed “would be nice to know,” he said.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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