Governor directs DNR to file emergency rule to prevent anchor strikes, Protect Great Lakes

LANSING, MI (WILX) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is directing the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to file an emergency rule which will help prevent anchor strikes specifically against Line 5, as well as other lines that pass through the Straits of Mackinac.

"Preserving our Great Lakes is a top priority for our state," Whitmer said. "I remain committed to getting the oil out of the water as quickly as possible, but in the meantime, these preventative actions will help to protect our most significant ecological and economic resource."

The emergency rule will require large vessels to verify that no anchors are being dragged by the ship before passing through the Straits.

This rule will address issues that emerged in April of 2018, when an anchor dragged by a vessel, struck and damaged the pipeline.

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Whitmer’s plans, "While we are happy to see stronger protections for boat travel near the Straits, the only way to truly prevent a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes is to immediately cease the flow of oil through the dangerous and damaged 66-year-old pipeline and shut it down once and for all.”

The Governor's Office says the action was taken to protect Michigan's Great Lakes.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a statement regarding this action.

Nessel said, “I respect the Governor’s effort to find a swift and straightforward resolution to this issue, but if unsuccessful I will use every resource available to our office to shut down Line 5 to protect our Great Lakes.”

The rule can be filed if and when a governor and an agency find that the preservation of the public health, safety, or welfare requires an emergency rule.

It is then that the agency may dispense with all or part of the procedures and file a rule.

The State of Michigan is also making a formal request to the U.S. Coast Guard to create a similar rule for all foreign vessels, which lie beyond state authority.

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