Michigan officials have spent the past year pursuing a plan to tunnel an oil pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac while ignoring the 182-year-old treaty rights of Native Americans, multiple tribal leaders say.
The state’s races for governor and attorney general offer voters stark choices on the controversial energy project.
An underground “utility corridor” carrying Michigan’s Line 5 pipeline and transmission cables across the Straits of Mackinac could prevent accidents but also cost at least half a billion dollars and take seven years to build.
Roughly 350 feet below the surface of the Straits of Mackinac — about the same depth as a passenger rail tunnel that links England and France — Michigan officials envision a 10-foot-wide tunnel to house the controversial Line 5 oil and gas pipeline.
While Michigan officials may already have enough evidence to close an underwater oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, a renewed effort to independently analyze the pipeline’s risk may finally prompt the state to take action.