New business group opposes Straits of Mackinac pipelines

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A business group is forming to support environmentalists battling to decommission two oil pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac, where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet.

The Great Lakes Business Network is targeting Line 5, operated by the Canadian company Enbridge. It extends from Superior, Wisconsin, across portions of northern Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario. The portion beneath the straits divides into two 20-inch lines.

The 10 founding members of the network include breweries, food and tourism companies and the national outdoor retailer Patagonia.

Larry Bell of Bell's Brewery said Tuesday a 2010 spill from an Enbridge pipeline that polluted the Kalamazoo River illustrated how damaging another spill in the Straits of Mackinac could be for businesses.

Enbridge says the underwater segment of Line 5 is inspected regularly and in good condition.