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Wisconsin Tribe And Michigan AG Seek Shutdown Of Line 5 Pipeline

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a Wisconsin Native American tribe in seeking a court injunction to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline due to an increased risk of erosion and rupture.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa last week filed an emergency motion with a federal court in Wisconsin requesting that Line 5 be closed, due to erosion of the Bad River riverbank in the past month, which threatens to lead to a rupture of the pipeline.    

In an opposition brief to the court, pipeline operator Enbridge argued that “Despite having to prove both liability and grounds for an injunction, the band has done neither. The motion must therefore be denied.”

“No release of oil is 'ready to take place,' 'happening soon,' or 'real and –immediate,'” lawyers for Enbridge argued in the brief, as carried by The Canadian Press.

The Wisconsin band’s motion was supported on Wednesday by Attorney General Dana Nessel of Michigan, the state which has been trying to shut down Line 5 for years.

In an amicus brief, Nessel asked a Wisconsin federal court to take emergency action to protect Lake Superior from an imminent threat posed by Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline. A pipeline rupture in Wisconsin would cause irreparable damage in Michigan, too, according to Nessel.

“The alarming erosion at the Bad River meander poses an imminent threat of irreparable harm to Lake Superior and necessitates injunctive relief,” the AG’s amicus brief reads.

Michigan also says that “The potential impacts of a court-ordered shutdown of Line 5 do not outweigh the risk of irreparable harm posed by Line 5’s continued operation on the Bad River Reservation.”

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians sued Enbridge in 2019, seeking the removal of Line 5 from the Bad River Reservation.  

Enbridge is proposing a relocation of a 12-mile section of Line 5 from the Bad River Reservation, replacing it with approximately 41 miles of pipe outside of the Reservation. The company, however, hasn’t obtained yet from the Department of Natural Resources the permits it needs for the relocation project. 

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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