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Michigan taxpayers are paying a pair of experts hundreds of dollars per hour to peer over the shoulders of researchers for a Canadian energy giant studying the future of Line 5, the aging oil pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The Michigan Agency for Energy last month said it hired two specialists to monitor Enbridge Energy Partners, operator of the 645-mile pipeline that environmentalists consider a threat to the Great Lakes, as the company fulfills its end of a legal agreement with the state. That deal includes studying the idea of constructing a tunnel around the pipeline.

Cost to Michigan of trusting Enbridge on Line 5: $255 per hour

After Enbridge admitted breaching public trust, Michigan is paying a pair of experts big money to monitor the company’s studies of its controversial pipeline across the Straits of Mackinac.


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