The State of Michigan has been trying for months to get its lawsuit against Enbridge, the Canadian company operating the Line 5 pipeline, moved to state court. A federal judge rejected that motion recently, and the Government of Canada invoked Treaty powers in October to try and make it a diplomatic issue, rather than a litigious one. Facing dim prospects in court, the Whitmer Administration announced it was dropping one suit to allow another to continue at the state level.
State Representative Greg Markkanen issued a statement saying he hoped to see all court actions dropped soon.
“This was a frivolous lawsuit hatched from a campaign promise, and existing suits are no different. The governor hoped the Biden administration would put its foot down and end Line 5, but it has indicated it isn’t planning to do so.
“People across northern Michigan are worried about what the governor’s continued attempts to shut down Line 5 would mean for their homes, families and small businesses. That anxiety is not going away as long as these lawsuits continue. There are viable alternatives to shutting the pipeline down altogether, such as a tunnel project, that would ensure the safety of our Great Lakes while delivering resources that people need. The governor has balked at such a common-sense solution, and desperately went to Washington, D.C. for help.
“I am hopeful other lawsuits meet the same fate as this one. We need practicality as we approach this challenge, not pointless litigation and partisan stubbornness.”
Line Five carries 540,000 barrels of crude and refined products, like propane, between Superior, Wisconsin and Sarnia, Ontario, Canada near Port Huron. It is the main deliverer of materials used to heat homes across the UP in winter time.
The State of Michigan officially ordered Line 5 closed in May due to concerns of what a spill would mean for the Straits of Mackinac, where the pipeline rests on the bottom of the lake bed. Enbridge and the Snyder Administration had agreed to a plan that would construct a tunnel underneath the water, considered by many to be a safer alternative. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signaled that solution did not go far enough.