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Judge: Enbridge's Line 5 must cease operation

Temporary Restraining Order granted against oil pipeline
Enbridge Line 5 pipeline file photo
Posted at 1:50 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 14:11:59-04

LANSING, Mich. — Enbridge must stop transporting crude oil and natural gas across a set of twin pipelines running below the water in the Straits of Mackinac.

In a ruling by Ingham County Court Judge James Jamo, both the West and East sides of Line 5 must be shut down under a temporary restraining order.

Enbridge closed the East line after one of the support anchors shifted. The company resumed use of the West line last weekend, after determining the pipeline was not impacted.

However, Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel say Enbridge has not be forthcoming on what the situation is with the East line, nor on how the company determined the West line was safe to use. The state asked Judge Jamo for a temporary restraining order to prevent Enbridge from operating the twin pipeline.

The judge granted the motion Thursday, June 25, setting up yet another legal battle between Enbridge and Whitmer's administration. The state is trying to shut down line 5 permanently, and prevent Enbridge from building a replacement line in a tunnel under the straits.

Judge Jamo set oral arguments on the Preliminary Injunction Motion for Tuesday, June 30. The decision on whether Enbridge can continue using line 5 during the on-going lawsuit will be made after that hearing.

In reaction to today's ruling, Governor Whitmer's office released this statement:

“Governor Whitmer applauds the court’s decision to issue a temporary restraining order to shut down Line 5 immediately, following severe damage to an anchor support. Enbridge’s decision to continue pumping crude oil through the Straits of Mackinac with so many unanswered questions was reckless and unacceptable. Enbridge owes a duty to the people of Michigan and must answer to the state for how it treats our Great Lakes. The governor will continue working to keep our water safe.”