Line 5 Pipeline Shut Down … for How Long?

Straits of Mackinac by Mark Swanson

Straits of Mackinac by Mark Swanson

EDITOR’S NOTE: I believe that the Line 5 pipeline is a ridiculous threat to Michigan’s economy & environment, am quite pleased with it being shut down, and strongly hope that it is shut down for good. Sorry if that makes you sad or upsets you. 😉

Ed White of the Associated Press writes that a judge shut down Enbridge’s controversial Line 5 energy pipeline that travels under the Straits of Mackinac on Thursday after Enbridge reported problems with a support piece far below the surface:

Enbridge Inc. has not provided enough information to Michigan officials to show that continued operation of the west leg of the Line 5 twin pipeline is safe, Ingham County Judge James Jamo said.

Without the temporary order, “the risk of harm to the Great Lakes and various communities and businesses that rely on the Great Lakes would be not only substantial but also in some respects irreparable,” the judge said.

…Enbridge’s Line 5 carries oil and natural gas liquids from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. A four-mile (6.4-kilometer) segment divides into two pipes that lie on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

Enbridge last week said an anchor support on the east leg of the pipeline had shifted. The company said Line 5 itself was not ruptured and that no oil spilled into the water, but it still hasn’t explained how the incident occurred.

The east leg was shut down. But Enbridge said it resumed the flow through the west line Saturday after consulting with federal regulators at the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The judge said he’ll hold a hearing Tuesday on the state’s request for a preliminary injunction that, if granted, could keep Line 5 closed indefinitely.

“With the continued operation of this pipeline, the risk of severe and lasting environmental damage to Michigan’s most important natural resource continues to grow every day,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Read on for lots more. Nessel is not kidding about the potential damage to Michigan’s water from the company that devastated the Kalamazoo River back in 2010 with the largest oil spill in Michigan history. A University of Michigan researcher modeled Line 5 spill scenarios and found that more than 700 miles of shoreline in Lakes Michigan and Huron and on their islands are potentially vulnerable to an oil release in the Straits.

You can also dig into Enbridge’s take on their pipeline that carries Canadian oil through Michigan mainly to Sarnia, Ontario & the case against the LIne 5 at For Love of Water.

Mark took this photo three years ago of the Mighty Mac looking north from the Lower Peninsula across the Straits. See lots more in his Mackinac, Michigan album on Flickr.

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Lake Michigan Lighthouse Circle Tour

White Shoal Lighthouse MI by Mark

White Shoal Lighthouse, MI by Mark

The West Michigan Tourist Association is offering this year’s Lake Michigan Lighthouse Map & Circle Tour poster that details all of the lighthouses located on the shores of Lake Michigan and a Circle Tour driving route. You can get the 2020 Lighthouse Map online or request a free copy in the mail.

The White Shoal Light is located 20 miles due west of the Mackinac Bridge and is the only candy-striped station on the Great Lakes. While they won’t be open this summer, the White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society is working to open it for tours in 2021.

Mark took this photo back in June of 2012. See lots more in his massive Mark’s Lights gallery on Flickr!

More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!

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Sunset in South Haven

Dyckman Beach, Lake Michigan by Gary Syrba

Dyckman Beach, Lake Michigan by Gary Syrba

Gary took this beautiful sunset shot a couple weeks ago at South Haven’s Dyckman Beach. Visit him on Flickr for more!

More great Michigan beaches on Michigan in Pictures!

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Heading down to the beach on Warren Dunes

Heading down to the beach - Warren Dunes by Mark Swanson

Heading down to the beach – Explore by Mark Swanson

Pure Michigan says that Warren Dunes State Park:

…provides 1,952 acres of recreational opportunities along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan in southwestern Michigan. The rugged dune formation rises 260 feet above the lake and offers spectacular views and excellent for hang gliding. The park has three miles of shoreline, six miles of hiking trails and is open year-round. Pet-friendly shoreline.

Wikipedia adds that:

The dunes and beach area was preserved by a local businessman, Edward K. Warren, who originally purchased the site as a favor to a friend who had encountered significant financial difficulties. By 1930, the Warren Dunes area had been taken over as a state park

Head over to the Warren Dunes State Park website for trail maps, camping reservations & more.

Mark took this photo last weekend. See more in his June 2020 gallery.

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Electric & Perfectly Hectic

Electric & Perfectly Hectic by Snap Happy Gal

Electric & Perfectly Hectic by Snap Happy Gal

Heather says it was electric, and perfectly hectic which seems to me to be an apt description for Michigan’s wild 2020 ride.

See it bigger on her Facebook and definitely follow Snap Happy Gal Photography on Facebook and Instagram for more!

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Facing uncertainty, Michigan begins to re-open

Mackinac Bridge by Daniel L

Mackinac Bridge by Daniel L

Yesterday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order allowing for the reopening of retail, business & office work that can’t be done remotely, and restaurants and bars with limited seating for northwest Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

The two regions are both in the northern part of the state—specifically, MERC regions 6 and 8, as detailed in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy. The partial reopening will take effect on Friday, May 22. Cities, villages, and townships may choose to take a more cautious course if they wish: the order does not abridge their authority to restrict the operations of restaurants or bars, including limiting such establishments to outdoor seating.

…“The data shows that these regions in Michigan are seeing consistent encouraging trends when it comes to the number of cases, deaths, and the percent of tests that are positive for COVID-19,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “It’s important to note that these businesses must take special precautions to protect Michiganders. I also encourage everyone to continue to wear a mask in public, maintain a 6 foot distance from others, and to remain vigilant in washing their hands often. This will help prevent a second surge in cases in our state.”

All businesses that will reopen in regions 6 and 8 must adopt the safety measures outlined in Executive Order 2020-91. That means they must, among other things, provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions. Restaurants and bars will also have to limit capacity to 50% of their normal seating, to keep groups at least six feet from one another, to require their servers to wear face coverings, and to follow rigorous disinfection protocols.

Read more at Michigan.gov and please stay safe AND keep others safe by wearing a mask. In addition to it being the law, you wearing a mask reduces the chance of infecting someone else by almost 70%!

Lots more in Daniel’s massive Michigan photo gallery on Flickr.

TONS more about the Mighty Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures.

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An easy ride at Little Sable Point Lighthouse

Little Sable Point Lighthouse by Kevin Povenz

Little Sable Point Lighthouse by Kevin Povenz

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has a bunch of information about the history of Little Sable Point Light:

Congress appropriated $35,000 for the project, and 39 acres of land were selected on which to construct the new Light station. The construction of a light at Little Point Sable was destined to be a daunting task, since the location was distant from any area of supply, and there was a total absence of roads to the site. Work began in April 1873 with the construction of a dock at the beach and temporary housing for the construction crew.

A pile driver was towed to the point, and in accordance with Poe’s plan, 109 one-foot diameter pilings were driven into the sand to a level nine feet below the surface in order to form a solid base on which to build the tower. Twelve feet of cut stone was then carefully laid atop the pilings to provide a solid base for the tower’s brickwork. The brick walls had a thickness of five feet at the base, tapering to a thickness of two feet at its uppermost. With the advent of winter, the crews were removed from the point, and work had to wait for the next spring.

…Being built of a particularly hard and durable type of brick, the decision was made to leave both the tower and ancillary structures in a natural, unpainted condition, since it was expected they would withstand the rigors of the weather without deterioration. This was no doubt a decision which sat well with Keeper Davenport, as painting was an activity in which the authorities held considerable stock, and he found himself in the enviable position of not having that millstone around his neck every year!

…It did not take long before mariners began complaining that the natural brick coloration made the tower difficult to see during daylight hours. As a result, the tower was painted white on September 24, 1900, and thereafter, keepers assigned to the tower would be stuck with the drudgery of the annual painting ritual.

…With the station unmanned, the Coast Guard began to see the ancillary buildings as a liability, and in the first half of 1955 a crew arrived at the station and demolished everything but the tower.

The tower remained in its white painted condition until 1977, when once again seizing the opportunity to reduce the ongoing maintenance costs associated with constant painting, a crew arrived at the station, and sandblasted the tower. Once again, James Davenport’s easy ride was exposed to the light of day!

More from Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light.

Kevin took this back in July of 2016. See many more great shots in his Lighthouse gallery.

More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

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May the 4th be with Michigan!

"Midnight Light" Frankfort, Michigan by John McCormick

“Midnight Light” Frankfort, Michigan by John McCormick

May 4th is known as Star Wars Day – May the Fourth be with you – an annual celebration of one of our shared modern stories. If you’re up before dawn tomorrow, you can step out to see if you can see Eta Aquariid  meteors in the east. Earthsky notes that the forecast calls for the greatest number of Eta Aquariid meteors to fall before dawn on (or near) May 5. However, this shower has a rather broad maximum, so just as many meteors may be flying on the mornings after.

John took this photo of the Frankfort Light back in September of 2017. See it and more in his Starry Night gallery and be sure to follow Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook!

Here’s a supercut trailer to get you in the mood!

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Gale Force Assemble: Wild Weather on the Way for Michigan

Wild Day on Lake Michigan by Bob Gudas

Wild Day on Lake Michigan by Bob Gudas

mLive reports that the storm systems that have been tearing across the country are coming to Michigan today, bringing high wind warnings to the state & dumping up to 2 feet of snow on the UP:

Lower Michigan should have peak wind gusts between 45 mph and 55 mph. There could be an isolated wind gust just over 55 mph. The strongest gusts would likely be right along the Lake Michigan shoreline due to the wind accelerating over the Great Lakes water and on the eastern fringe of the Lower Peninsula.

The northeast shoreline of Lower Michigan, from Tawas City to Alpena to Rogers City, will likely have the highest widespread wind gusts. There will also be a pick-up of winds right at the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The Upper Peninsula will stay on the cold side of the storm. Wind gusts will still be strong, up to 45 mph. Snow will be the main issue. Some parts of the U.P. will have very heavy snowfall.

A large part of the western two-thirds of the U.P. will have over one foot of snow. Some areas in the higher elevations along the Lake Superior shoreline near Marquette could have up to two feet of snow. The heavy snow combined with strong winds will likely cause power outages.

In Lower Michigan, there will be two snowfall patterns. Northwest Lower Michigan will have the changeover to snow just as the main precipitation area of the storm is winding down. Northwest Lower could have a couple of hours of meaningful snowfall. As a result, look for one to three inches of snow on the grass Monday night in northwest Lower. This would include Traverse City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Gaylord and Mackinaw City.

Stay warm & stay safe everyone!

Bob took this shot of gale force winds hitting the pier at Grand Haven back in Ovtober of 2015. See it and more in his Explore album on Flickr.

More wind on Michigan in Pictures!

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Get Outside (virtually) with WMT Cams

Retired Fishing Boats by Andy Farmer

If you’re anything like me, not being able to ramble off to all corners of Michigan is probably grating on you. To help a little with cabin fever, the West Michigan Tourist Association’s live webcam gallery features a great collection of webcams all along the west side of the state. One of these is the Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce’s Harbor webcam, and you can view that one and more at the link!

While this photo isn’t quite the view, I thought it was too beautiful not to share! See it and lots more in Andy’s Beaver Island, MI gallery.

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