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Emergency rule bans most anchoring in Straits of Mackinac

May 24, 2018 03:46 PM

The move by Michigan's governor follows a cable strike that caused a fluid leak

Courtesy Chicago Tribune

(LANSING, Mich.) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday approved an emergency ban on most vessels dropping anchor in the Straits of Mackinac following a cable strike that caused a potentially toxic leak, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"Anchoring in the Straits of Mackinac poses a serious threat to the welfare and protection of Michigan and our vital natural resources," Snyder said, referencing the waterway that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. "Anchoring could cause severe environmental damage and threatens to disrupt critical energy and communication services between the Upper and Lower peninsulas. This emergency rule will help us better protect Michigan waters and residents until a permanent solution is in place."

The decree puts into law a previous informal anchor restriction and was issued under the marine safety sections of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. It will remain in place for six months and can be renewed for another six months. The rule allows exceptions for emergency situations, vessels operating under tribal authorities and written requests that have to be approved.

On April 1, two oil pipelines beneath the straits were dented and about 600 gallons of mineral oil insulation fluid leaked from two electric cables. The Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board investigated. The state attorney general said a tugboat anchor was the cause.

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