Geologists Express Concern About Line 5 Tunnel Plan

Some experts are warning the proposed Line 5 tunnel project in the Straits of Mackinac is not ready for prime time. The state is holding hearings on Enbridge’s permit applications for the project. Geological engineer Brian O’Mara joined other scientists who reviewed the plan to share their concerns during a press conference Monday. The project involves tunneling beneath open water, where O’Mara tells us there are geological conditions like poor rock quality and solution cavities.

“They’re going to hit some difficult drilling conditions. Now, I don’t think it’s impossible but they’re going to have to plan for it, and since the amount of study that they did was so minimal, it’s a recipe for disaster because they’re not going to be ready for the unknown.”

O’Mara says the risk assessment done for the project is inadequate, and contends the permit proposal falls short of industry standards. An Enbridge spokesperson told reporters that experienced geologists and engineers consulted on the tunnel plan, and that the company is confident in its geological analysis.