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Gov. Whitmer: State court should have final say on Line 5 pipelines

Proposed study could require shutdown of Enbridge pipeline
Posted at 1:10 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 14:39:32-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan is shifting its legal strategy to give state courts the final say in the Line 5 pipeline by voluntarily dismissing the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lawsuit against Enbridge in federal court.

The governor’s goal remains shutting down the Line 5 dual oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac as soon as possible, according to a news release Tuesday.

“Today I took further action to protect the Great Lakes from an oil spill and help us stay focused on getting the Line 5 dual oil pipelines out of the water as quickly as possible,” Whitmer said. “While I respectfully disagree, the federal court has now decided to keep the lawsuit I filed in November 2020. I believe the people of Michigan, and our state courts, should have the final say on whether this oil company should continue pumping 23 million gallons of crude oil through the Straits of Mackinac every day. After today’s action, Attorney General Dana Nessel’s lawsuit, filed in June 2019, should now be able to move forward expeditiously in state court. Our goal here remains the same: protecting the Great Lakes, protecting Michigan jobs and protecting Michigan’s economy.”

READ MORE: Judge: Enbridge Line 5 lawsuit to remain in federal court

READ MORE: Enbridge to continue Line 5 operations past Governor Whitmer's shutdown orders

Enbridge officials say they plan to continue to pursue their case in federal court.

Enbridge is pleased by the State of Michigan’s decision to drop its case to enforce its November 2020 notice of revocation and termination related to Line 5. 

Enbridge will continue to pursue its case in federal court to affirm federal jurisdiction over Line 5.

Earlier this year, Canada invoked the 1977 Transit Pipeline Treaty. U.S. Federal Judge Janet Neff in a jurisdictional order took note that "the federal issues in this case are under consideration at the highest levels of this country's government."

Enbridge will continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to Michigan and the region. We will continue to pursue the Great Lakes Tunnel to house a replacement section of Line 5 so that it can continue to serve the region safely.

Nessel says she supports Whitmer's decision.

“I fully support the governor in her decision to dismiss the federal court case and instead focus on our ongoing litigation in state court," Nessel said. "The state court case is the quickest and most viable path to permanently decommission Line 5. The governor and I continue to be aligned in our commitment to protect the Great Lakes and this dismissal today will help us advance that goal.”