Corps of Engineers begins Line 5 Tunnel EIS scoping process

DETROIT (WLUC) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers kicked off the process of scoping the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Enbridge Line 5 Tunnel project by releasing the notice of intent (NOI) in the Federal Register.

The Corps of Engineers announced the news in a news release Monday.

The Notice of Intent informs the public of the upcoming environmental scan and describes how the public can become involved in the EIA process for Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 Tunnel project to cross the Strait of Mackinac in Lake Michigan.

“The Notice of Intent begins the scoping process, the 60-day period during which the Corps of Engineers seeks input from the Tribal Nation, agency, and public to help define the scope of issues and potential alternatives that IST should resolve,” the Detroit District Lt. Commander said. Colonel Brett Boyle. “The Corps of Engineers will ensure that all voices are heard in an open, transparent and public EIS process.”

Tribal nations, agencies, communities, organizations, citizens and other stakeholders can provide input during the 60-day scoping process, open until October 14, 2022. Submissions are accepted by mail, via the project website or at a public meeting in person or virtually. meetings held during the scoping period.

“The framing process is not a vote,” Boyle said. “Comments should help identify areas requiring further review, including historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects and other public interest factors. This is a great opportunity to have an impact on the Corps of Engineers scoping process for the development of the draft EIS.

For more information on developing effective framing comments, submitting comments, or information about public meetings, visit: The Corps of Engineers says all feedback, oral or written, is weighed equally.

The Corps of Engineers is committed to ensuring meaningful and robust consultation with Tribal Nations. Several tribes are helping prepare for the EIS as cooperating agencies, and USACE will continue to consult with tribes throughout the process to gather information and follow regulations and policies.

The District of Detroit is the federal agency responsible for HIA with the following cooperating agencies:

  • Bay Mills Indian Community
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
  • Small Bands of Traverse Bay Odawa Indians
  • Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians
  • Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi
  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
  • US Coast Guard
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Michigan State Historic Preservation Office

In March 2022, the District of Detroit selected Maryland-based Potomac-Hudson Engineering, Inc. as the third-party contractor to prepare the EIS for the Line 5 tunnel proposed by Enbridge under the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge pays for the EIS, but the contractor is under the direction of the Corps of Engineers when preparing the EIS. The Corps of Engineers is responsible for the scope and content of the EIS to ensure independent review, with assistance from cooperating agencies.

In June 2021, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jaime A. Pinkham announced that the Corps of Engineers would conduct an EIS, concluding that an EIS is the most appropriate level of review in because of the potential for impacts significantly affecting quality. of the human environment.

“According to Mr. Pinkham’s announcement, it is extremely important that the Corps of Engineers ensure that all potential impacts and reasonable alternatives associated with this project are thoroughly analyzed as this will ultimately support the permitting decision.” , Boyle said.

The District of Detroit previously held two public comment periods, May 15-July 14, 2020 and November 6-December 17, 2020, receiving more than 15,000 public and tribal comments on the proposed project during those periods. The EIA process requires additional public comment periods.

Corps of Engineers officials will consider comments received during all public comment periods when preparing the EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine if the activity is against the general public interest. The EIS will in turn help determine if the Corps of Engineers issues, issues conditions, or denies the permit application.

For the Line 5 Tunnel Project, Enbridge Energy is proposing to construct a tunnel under the bed of the Strait of Mackinac between Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace and McGulpin Point, Mackinaw City, Michigan. The tunnel would house a new 30-inch pipeline for light crude oil and liquid natural gas, replacing the existing twin submerged pipelines crossing the Strait of Mackinac, which have been in service since 1953.

The application is assessed under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Waters Act in accordance with Federal regulations and policies. The authority of the Corps of Engineers is limited to the proposed crossing of the Strait of Mackinac and adjacent wetlands.

Corps of Engineers officials estimate that a draft EIS will be available for public review and comment in the fall of 2023.

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