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Enbridge files federal complaint to block state shutting down Line 5 dual pipelines

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Posted at 4:45 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 16:48:29-05

(WXYZ) — Enbridge filed a federal complaint seeking an injunction to stop the State of Michigan from taking any action to shut down the Line 5 dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

Earlier this month, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Enbridge has "repeatedly" violated the 1953 Easement, and that the continued operation of the pipelines violates the state's energy needs.

Enbridge argues that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is its safety regulator, not the State of Michigan. Enbridge claims the safety of the dual pipelines was reviewed by PHMSA and were found to be "fit for service."

"The State’s attempt to assume the role of safety regulator through its notice purporting to “terminate and revoke” the easement is improper and unlawful," Enbridge said in a statement.

“In the face of continued roadblocks by this Administration it’s time for the State to stop playing politics with the energy needs and anxieties of US and Canadian consumers and businesses that depend on Line 5,” said Vern Yu, Executive Vice President and President, Liquids Pipelines. “It is concerning to see the current Administration is willing to compromise these needs. We remain highly committed to protecting the Great Lakes, the environment, and all the people who use these waters while delivering energy that people rely on daily. Enbridge's Line 5 has served Michiganders safely without spilling a drop of oil at the Straits crossing for more than 65 years, over nine different State Administrations.”

“Here in Michigan, the Great Lakes define our borders, but they also define who we are as people. Enbridge has routinely refused to take action to protect our Great Lakes and the millions of Americans who depend on them for clean drinking water and good jobs. They have repeatedly violated the terms of the 1953 easement by ignoring structural problems that put our Great Lakes and our families at risk,” Whitmer said earlier this month. “Most importantly, Enbridge has imposed on the people of Michigan an unacceptable risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes that could devastate our economy and way of life. That’s why we’re taking action now, and why I will continue to hold accountable anyone who threatens our Great Lakes and fresh water."

"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," the governor's office said. "The dual pipelines are vulnerable to anchor strikes, similar dangerous impacts, and the inherent risks of pipeline operations."