Gov. Gretchen Whitmer weighs in, starts to use executive authority to support decommissioning.
Ann Arbor, MI —Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today took legal action to shut down the risky 66-year-old pipeline, known as Line 5, which cuts across the Straits of Mackinac. The National Wildlife Federation strongly supports the action to protect Michigan’s citizens, businesses and communities from another catastrophic oil spill. The company that operates the Line 5 pipeline, Enbridge, is responsible for the oil disaster that leaked more than 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River and nearby community, contaminated more than 37 miles of the river, and cost more than $1 billion to clean up.
“The bottom line is Michigan can’t afford another oil spill disaster,” said Beth Wallace, Great Lakes partnerships manager with the National Wildlife Federation. “We applaud Attorney General Dana Nessel’s legal action to decommission this risky pipeline to protect our Great Lakes, jobs, fish and wildlife, and way of life. The National Wildlife Federation will employ every option to fully support the attorney general in her efforts to remove this risky oil pipeline from the heart of the Great Lakes.”
In two separate legal filings, Attorney General Nessel is suing Enbridge in circuit court to shut down Line 5 as soon as possible because of the danger Line 5 poses to the Great Lakes, as well as seeking to dismiss the suit Enbridge filed against the state earlier this month in the court of claims. In the court of claims action, the Attorney General is defending her opinion striking down as unconstitutional the back-room deal that Enbridge struck with outgoing former Gov. Rick Snyder and the state legislature to force the state to support an oil tunnel.
Also today, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered the Department of Natural Resources to review violations of the Line 5 easement through the Straits of Mackinac. The governor has the authority to revoke the easement to start decommissioning.
“We are glad to see that the governor and attorney general are acting in concert to protect the Great Lakes and Michigan’s communities, jobs, fish and wildlife, and way of life,” said Wallace. “The governor has independent power and legal authority to tackle Line 5, and she needs to use it to protect the Great Lakes. She has promised to shut down Line 5, and we hope that she acts with urgency to do so.”
Enbridge has a long track record of oil spills, leaks, accidents, explosions, and environmental damage. It has paid more than $187 million in penalties and settlements due to 58 environmental and business practice violations. There have already been 33 spills in its Line 5 pipeline—although none have been in the Straits. Earlier this year, Enbridge walked away from negotiations with the state of Michigan and sued the state.
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