The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, November 29, 2019

Enbridge comlpletes tunnel rock sampling

By Marty Mulcahy, Editor

Enbridge comlpletes tunnel rock sampling

Enbridge has completed the process of sediment and rock sampling under the Straits of Mackinac in preparation for building a utility tunnel to encase its Line 5 petroleum pipeline.

The Associated Press reported Nov. 21 that Enbridge's crews took core samples from 27 locations in the Straits between St. Ignace and Mackinaw City. The samples will be studied and used to design the tunnel as well as a machine to bore it some 100 feet below the water. 

The tunnel will encapsulate a five-mile section Enbridge's Line 5, which transports petroleum products and natural gas from Superior, Wis. to Sarnia, Ontario. The current Line 5 consists of a pair of pipelines that have been located on the lakebed of the Straits since the 1950s. 

Environmentalists have pressured Enbridge to shut down Line 5 because of the threat of a petroleum spill. 

Former Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican state Legislature late last year forged a deal to build the tunnel, and Enbridge was operating the core sampling process under that agreement. But the pact is opposed by current Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is appealing a court ruling that upheld legislation authorizing the agreement.

Enbridge said it will continue the process leading up to construction, and expects the $500 million tunnel to be complete by 2024. 

Peters seeks union protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led 43 of his colleagues in a letter requesting that Senate leadership and appropriations conferees include provisions to protect federal employees’ collective bargaining rights in any appropriations legislation Congress passes.

“Robust labor unions are a hallmark of competitive workplaces – they lead the fight for better benefits, protections, and working conditions. The Trump Administration’s anti-union agenda undermines the government’s ability to attract talented workers and demoralizes workers currently in public service” wrote the senators. “At a time when the right to unionize in both the public and private sectors is increasingly under attack, we must affirm our support for workers and labor rights.”

Earlier this year, the Democratic-led House passed the FY2020 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill with a provision to prevent agencies from implementing any labor agreement that has not been agreed to by all parties or was not the result of binding arbitration. This provision restores the collective bargaining process and requires agencies to return to the bargaining table to engage in good-faith negotiations. Without this protection, the writers of the provision said, unions will be locked into unreasonable and unfair contracts for the foreseeable future.