By JOHN FLESHER
AP Environmental Writer
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The company that operates twin oil pipelines in a Great Lakes waterway says it knew three years ago that protective coating had been damaged but hadn’t informed regulatory agencies.
Enbridge Inc. says four gaps were opened in enamel coating on one section of Line 5 in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac as a support anchor was being installed in 2014. The coating gap is one of several that have exposed bare metal on parts of the pipelines.
Ryan Duffy, a company spokesman, says the gaps are being repaired and haven’t compromised the pipelines’ safety.
But state officials are criticizing Enbridge’s failure to disclose the damage earlier.
Michigan Agency for Energy Director Valerie Brader says her office’s trust in Enbridge “has been seriously eroded.”
The Straits of Mackinac links Lakes Huron and Michigan.