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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sued on Thursday Enbridge to shut down the dual oil pipelines running under the Straits of Mackinac because, she said, the 66-year-old pipelines “present an unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes.”
Nessel, a Democrat, also filed on Thursday a motion to dismiss Enbridge’s lawsuit from early this month that seeks to enforce agreements between the company and the administration of the previous Michigan Governor, Republican Rick Snyder, which had authorized Enbridge to build a tunnel and continue operating Line 5.
In the final days of the administration of outgoing Governor Snyder, the Michigan Legislature approved in December 2018 the Great Lakes pipeline project that envisages the replacement of a section of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline and agreed to set up a state authority to oversee the construction of a tunnel for a section of the new pipeline.
The new Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, however, ordered in March the suspension of all work on the tunnel. The order followed an opinion by the new AG Nessel, who said the bill that allowed the construction of the tunnel violated the state constitution because “it went beyond what the bill’s title reflected.”
Nessel threatened in April to “use every resource available” to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline, and made good on that promise today.
“I have consistently stated that Enbridge’s pipelines in the Straits need to be shut down as soon as possible because they present an unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes,” Nessel said in a statement on Thursday.
“Governor Whitmer tried her best to reach an agreement that would remove the pipelines from the Straits on an expedited basis, but Enbridge walked away from negotiations and instead filed a lawsuit against the state,” Nessel added.
“The continued operation of Line 5 presents an extraordinary, unreasonable threat to the public because of the very real risk of further anchor strikes, the inherent risks of pipeline operations, and the foreseeable, catastrophic effects if an oil spill occurs at the Straits,” said the Michigan AG. “We were extraordinarily lucky that we did not experience a complete rupture of Line 5 because, if we did, we would be cleaning up the Great Lakes and our shorelines for the rest of our lives, and the lives of our children as well,” she noted.
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.