Emergency rule prohibits most anchoring in Michigan waterway

Michigan’s governor has approved an emergency rule prohibiting most vessels from dropping anchor in a waterway where oil, electric and other infrastructure cables rest.

Gov. Rick Snyder says Thursday that the move prevents environmental damage to the state and the Straits of Mackinac that connects Lakes Michigan and Huron.

On April 1, twin oil pipelines beneath the straits were dented, probably from a tugboat anchor strike. About 600 gallons (2,270 liters) of mineral oil insulation fluid also leaked from two electric cables.

The emergency rule will remain in place for six months and can be renewed for another six months. It also adds teeth and puts into state law a previous informal anchor restriction.

The state and the Coast Guard are discussing permanent measures on anchoring.