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Pipeline Task Force Hosts Marathon Oil, CMU Research Team
Michigan Ag Connection - 02/11/2015

The Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force met Monday with representatives from Marathon Oil as well as a Central Michigan University professor and student research team.

Co-chaired by DEQ Director Dan Wyant and Attorney General Bill Schuette, the task force is focused on reviewing Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac as well as the state's emergency management preparedness for spills.

The task force heard from four representatives of Marathon Oil, which operates Michigan's only oil refinery, located in Detroit. The refinery relies on pipelines like Line 5 to bring crude oil to its refineries, where it transforms it to finished products like gasoline and diesel. Relying on rail or truck is cost-prohibitive, they said.

Marathon also relies on pipelines to transport its finished products across the state.

Additionally, the task force heard from James Hill, a professor at CMU; Ken Winter, a former master's student at CMU and the former editor of the Petoskey News-Review; and a group of current students. They proposed the state fund an independent study of the economic and environmental impacts of a spill in the Straits of Mackinac to give Enbridge and its shareholders the information needed to make an accurate cost-benefit analysis of Line 5.

Marathon's full presentation and the CMU group's research paper are both available on the task force's website,

The website also includes previous presentations from the National Wildlife Federation, Enbridge, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, For the Love of Water, and the Great Lakes Commission. It also contains information about the task force members and offers a public comment form.

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