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Despite Michigan's deadline to shut down Line 5, Enbridge continues to operate the oil pipeline through the Great Lakes, reiterating that it is up to the U.S. federal government to say if the pipeline should continue operations.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the director of the state's Department of Natural Resources revoked Enbridge's easement for the operation of the twin Line 5 pipeline last November, citing repeated violations of the easement and the need to protect the Great Lakes. Michigan's notice required Enbridge to cease operations of the pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac by May 12, 2021.
Ten days after the state's notice in November, Enbridge filed a federal complaint at a U.S. district court seeking an injunction to stop Michigan's order for closure of the Line 5 pipeline, arguing that the state's shutdown order violates U.S. federal law and the Constitution.
On Tuesday, a day before the operation of Line 5 becomes "unlawful" according to the state of Michigan, Governor Whitmer warned Enbridge in a letter to Vern Yu, President of the Liquids Pipelines division, that operating the pipeline past May 12 would be "intentional trespass" of the order of the state of Michigan and the company would do so "at its own risk."
"If the state prevails in the underlying litigation, Enbridge will face the prospect of having to disgorge to the state all profits it derives from its wrongful use of the easement lands following that date," Whitmer said.
Enbridge, for its part, says that only a court and the U.S. federal government have authority to order Line 5 shut down. The company says that Line 5 remains a dependable, safe source of energy for Michigan and the region, and cites analysts who say that a shutdown would result in job losses and require costly tanker trucks for oil transportation which would create road damage, congestion, accidents, and CO2 emissions.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.