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      Debate over aging oil pipeline intensifies

      A n aging oil pipeline buried below the Straits of Mackinac is continuing to stir up concerns.

      T he publics interest in this environmental topic has skyrocketed over the last year , and today the discussion about this pipeline got louder at the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in Emmet County

      M any environmentalists around the state are concerned about the future of the 60 - year - old Enbridge pipeline.

      E ach day it carries more than 22 million gallons of oil underneath the Great Lakes.

      " The water resources are so sensitive , it's like a all or nothing proposition , we can't have any kind of problems and I think there's a lot of information that we don't have yet ," George Robsen, concerned citizen said.

      T he pipeline has become a controversial topic here in northern Michigan and once again the public voiced their concerns.

      " We need need more transparency so the public can feel safe about this type of thing," Charles Lindsay, concerned resident said.

      T he main reason people are concerned is because of an oil spill by the same company in the Kalamazoo River four years ago.

      " It's important to find out what this company has done as far as rectifying the problems that were done in Kalamazoo so we can avoid those in northern Michigan," Robsen said.

      A t public meetings , E nbridge has said their pipeline is not at risk , but their word isn't enough for residents or environmentalists.

      T hey want the state and federal government to step in with harsher regulations to make sure a disaster never happens in the Great Lakes.

      " We work on can we get more valves , can we do better inspections , a better repair program ?," Jennifer McKay, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council Policy Specialist said. "B asically work on improving the integrity of the pipeline to avoid problems ."

      A nd since there are few regulations currently on the books , environmentalists say its the publics duty to step up and get educated about the pipelines in our community.

      "T he first step is helping protect the community and getting ourselves aware," McKay said.