LANSING, Mich., Nov 10, 2021 — Today, Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) introduced House Bill 5576, a bill with bipartisan co-sponsorship, which would strengthen the penalties for vessels over 700 feet who deploy, drag or set anchors, chains and cables in the Straits of Mackinac. Violators would face a misdemeanor charge with up to one year in jail, a fine of no more than $10,000 or both. The bill would also require certified maritime pilots for large vessels navigating through the straits.
“Every day we continue to ignore the potential catastrophic damage of an anchor strike is another day we put our water supply and northern Michigan economy at risk,” said Hood. “ We have to do everything we can to prevent anchor strikes, including enhancing accountability with penalties and appropriate training for maritime pilots, and guiding vessels along approved routes through this dynamic and narrow strait. We stand to lose too much for too little gain. It’s time to take a stand and protect our precious lakes and freshwater.”
In 2018, an anchor strike dented Enbridge Energy’s 66-year-old dual Line 5 pipelines and sliced American Transmission Co.’s three underwater power cables and two of Consumers Energy’s retired lines. The damage is estimated to have cost over $100 million and released 800 gallons of mineral oil into the straits.
HB 5576 has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation, where it is awaiting a hearing.