Enbridge Energy Co.’s plan to build a new $1.9 billion pipeline across northern Indiana and Michigan is drawing considerable interest. It should draw applause as well.
The company plans to replace the existing 30-inch crude oil and liquid petroleum pipeline from Griffith to Stockbridge, Mich., with a 36-inch pipeline. The 30-inch pipeline, built in the 1960s, would be left in place, cleaned out and sealed, after the new pipeline becomes operational.
What has brought so much public attention to this project is the need to expand the easement through people’s yards and fields. “The easement is getting full,” Enbridge project director Thomas Hodge said, so Enbridge is asking property owners for an additional 25 feet. That extra room improves safety when digging up pipelines and keeps structures from being built near a pipeline that otherwise could be right on the edge of the existing easement.
Building the new pipeline will create more than 1,000 temporary and permanent jobs, a big plus in itself, but it also means improved safety. Installing a new pipeline means less maintenance, so there would be fewer disruptions to property owners.
Hodge hopes contractors will begin work in May, with ground broken in June, after the necessary permits have been obtained.