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Enbridge Says Michigan Governor’s Shutdown Orders Are Unlawful

Enbridge rejected on Tuesday the notice of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to close its Line 5 pipeline, saying that it has no intention of shutting down the pipelines as the state's action to terminate an easement for the Line 5 dual pipelines is unlawful.

Governor 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 in the middle of 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 of 2021.

"The state is revoking the easement for violation of the public trust doctrine, given the unreasonable risk that continued operation of the dual pipelines poses to the Great Lakes," an official statement from the Governor's office said. "Moreover, the state is terminating the easement based on Enbridge's persistent and incurable violations of the easement's terms and conditions."

Ten days after the state's notice, 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.

In a press release on Tuesday, Enbridge said that Vern Yu, Enbridge Executive Vice President and President, Liquids Pipelines, wrote to Governor Whitmer in a letter responding to the State's notice: "Our dual lines in the Straits are safe and in full compliance with the federal pipeline safety standards that govern them."

"Mr. Yu further stated that Enbridge has no intention of shutting down the pipelines based on the State's unspecified allegations and its violation of federal law," Enbridge said today.

"The Notice ignores scientific evidence and is based on inaccurate and outdated information," Yu wrote in the letter.  

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Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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