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Posted: 04/16/14


Above, 12 trees with ribbons on them along 36 Mile Road will be saved from being cut down by Enbridge as it works to replace an oil pipeline. The energy company came to an agreement with Macomb County and Bruce Township to replace 150 other trees and provide a $18,000 beautification grant to the township. At left, crews were in the midst of cutting down trees along 36 Mile Road to prepare for installing an oil pipeline when Macomb County told them to cease, leaving cut trees where they fell.

(Observer photos by Dennis A. Setter)

Enbridge agrees to
save trees on 36 Mile Road

Observer Staff Writer
      An agreement has been reached between Enbridge Energy, Macomb County and Bruce Township to save a dozen large trees from destruction along 36 Mile Road.
       Enbridge Energy is in phase two of a $1.6 billion project that is replacing approximately 285 miles of its Line 6B crude oil pipeline from Indiana and Michigan. Construction is set to begin on the last 50 miles of the project between Ortonville and Marysville, with a portion of it heading through Bruce Township.
       The Bruce Township portion starts at Dequindre and runs north of the Ford Proving Ground next to 36 Mile Road. It goes north past Hipp Road and then three miles north of Ebeling Road before veering north just south of Reid Road.
       Residents along 36 Mile Road expressed outrage last month over Enbridge cutting down trees that have been along the road for decades. In addition, county representatives said the company didn't have express permission to remove trees from the permitted right of way. A meeting was held April 2 to try and hammer out a deal with Enbridge.
       Per the agreement, Enbridge will not remove 12 large trees, replace 150 trees that will be removed, restore 36 Mile Road with six inches of limestone and give a $18,000 beautification grant to Bruce Township.
       District 7 County Commissioner Don Brown said not all residents are happy with the agreement since more than 40 large trees line the road, but was glad that Enbridge was willing to work with the county and township.
       "The company does have some legal authority in the area, and I think the company showed good faith with the residents and community to come up with a win-win situation that accommodates the residents' concerns but allows them to do the work they need to do," Brown said.
       Jason Manshum, an Enbridge spokeman, said with the agreement in place the company resumed work as of last week.
       "We make these efforts across all our projects," he said. "We try to minimize the impact, not only the environmental footprint but for the residents who live, work or play along the pipeline."
       He said when the company obtains a right of way to work it cannot have trees located within it due to the space needed to install the 30-inch diameter pipeline, some of which are 80 feet long. He said when digging the trench for the pipeline tree roots can be damaged, but any trees that are removed or damaged will be replaced.
       "The species will be of the township's choice and planted in locations of the township's choice," Manshum said. "These will be young trees we'll be planting versus seedlings."
       The beautification grant can be used at the township's discretion, even if it isn't on 36 Mile Road. Similarly, residents living along 36 Mile Road have the option to work with Enbridge on landscaping agreements for their properties.
       Supervisor Richard Cory said he understands that residents wanted more trees saved, but since the road is owned by the county the township had little say in the matter.
       "The alternative is we would've got nothing and all the trees would be gone," Cory said. "You always wish you could've done more, but I think we did pretty good."
       Enbridge held an informal meeting on April 15 for landowners, government officials and other stakeholders to learn about the project. The meeting provided details on why the project is needed, the construction process and safety and environmental considerations. Following the project's completion in 2014, Enbridge will have replaced Line 6B with new pipe from Griffith, In. to the St. Clair River in Marysville.

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