AG study finds Enbridge may not be able to afford spill

Nov 4, 2019

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   A new report says Enbridge Energy may have misrepresented its ability to pay for a Line 5 oil spill. 

While working with the Snyder Administration Enbridge agreed to cover up to $1.8 billion in the event of a Line 5 oil spill. 

Now a study, commissioned by the Attorney General’s office, which is involved in two lawsuits with Enbridge, finds the company may not be able to cover those costs. 

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is a spokesperson for the AG’s office.

“This company lied to the state of Michigan, lied to the Snyder administration in terms of their ability to cover cleanup of a catastrophic oil spill, which would devastate the Great Lakes.”

Specifically, the report found that it was a subsidiary of Enbridge that signed an agreement with the state in 2018, meaning that if a spill were to occur the company could not legally be required to pay for cleanup. 

“The parent company, Enbridge Energy Partners, does have financial holdings,” Rossman-McKinney said. “But they are not required by law to cover any kind of oil spill.”

A spokesperson for Enbridge says they are reviewing the report. They added that in their 2018 agreement with the state they made “detailed financial assurances” that they would cover all costs. 

The report was released as part of a statement from the Attorney General’s office after the Court of Claims ruled in favor of Enbridge this week, saying that legislation approving the deal between Governor Snyder and Enbridge did not violate the law. 

The agreement between then-Governor Snyder and Enbridge would have included building a tunnel underneath the straits of Mackinac to house the Line 5 pipeline. 

Attorney General Dana Nessel said she would appeal the decision. 

You can read Enbridge Energy’s full statement below: 

"We are reviewing the report mentioned by the Attorney General.

"As part of the 2018 agreements with the State of Michigan, Enbridge provided the State with detailed financial assurances that we would cover all costs in the unlikely event of an incident in the Straits.

"Enbridge is focused on the Line 5 tunnel project which reduces the chances of any release into the Straits to near zero and reflects our steadfast commitment to protecting the Great Lakes, the environment, and the community, while safely meeting Michigan’s energy needs."