Ottawa Supports Canadian-Owned Pipeline Earmarked for Closure by MI

Grant Boone
November 15, 2020

"Simply put, MI law requires that the pipelines be shut down and the Notice provides a timely and orderly process for achieving that", she said.

"This is a fearless and just decision for the Great Lakes", said Mike Shriberg, regional executive director, Great Lakes, for the National Wildlife Federation.

"This notice and the report from Michigan Department of Natural Resources are a distraction from the fundamental facts", said Vern Yu, president of Liquid Pipelines at Enbridge. The pipeline carries about 23 million gallons (87 million litres) of oil and natural gas liquids daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed to the Associated Press that she had filed a lawsuit on Friday.

Enbridge has previously fought court battles over the Line 5 pipeline in MI and said Friday it would review the state's analysis of its compliance with the easement and respond "through the legal process".

"It's kind of political suicide", Skolnick said of the motion to cancel the easement, noting that Whitmer has tried as recently as June to halt shipments of oil on the pipeline after one of the anchors at the bottom of the Straits shifted.

"I'm disappointed the governor is choosing to stand by environmental extremists and demand the shutdown of the Line 5 tunnel, which delivers crucial resources to MI families throughout the state".

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Despite long-held concerns over the catastrophic consequences of an oil spill on the community, until earlier this year the tribe had no say in decisions surrounding the oil giant.

A statement from the Governor's office noted that this does not prevent Enbridge from continuing to pursue permits to construct a tunnel under the Straits to house a replacement Line 5 segment.

Enbridge accused the state of not being transparent and not engaging with Enbridge in its assessment of the company's compliance with the easement.

Whitmer said Enbridge violated the public trust doctrine - an area of law that makes the state the "trustee" of Great Lakes public bottomlands. Moreover, the state is terminating the easement based on Enbridge's persistent and incurable violations of the easement's terms and conditions. For example, in April 2018, the pipelines were struck and dented in three different locations by an anchor inadvertently dropped and dragged by a commercial vessel.

"Transporting millions of gallons of petroleum products each day through two 67-year old pipelines that lie exposed along the entire span of a busy shipping channel presents an extraordinary and unacceptable risk", a statement from Whitmer's office reads. "With the steps they took today, Gov. Whitmer and Director Eichinger are making another clear statement that Line 5 poses a great risk to our state, and it must be removed from our public waterways".

The notice said Enbridge repeatedly violated a requirement that the pipelines rest on the lake bed or have other supports at least every 75 feet (22 meters). On June 7, 2019, the governor issued Executive Order 2019-14, creating the UP Energy Task Force to assess the region's energy needs and alternative sources of supply.

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