ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled today that legislation authorizing a utility tunnel to house Enbridge Energy’s oil pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac is constitutional. The legislation, passed during the waning moments of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s tenure, has been criticized by conservation groups as a backroom deal that jeopardizes the health of the Great Lakes. The legislation was challenged by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The National Wildlife Federation has supported the attorney general in her lawsuit.
Beth Wallace, manager, conservation partnerships, said:
“The National Wildlife Federation is disappointed in this decision. We will continue to support Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s efforts to protect our Great Lakes, our drinking water and our economy from another Enbridge oil catastrophe. We cannot afford a spill in the Straits of Mackinac like Enbridge Energy’s one-million-gallon gusher that contaminated 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River. We hope the state appeals this decision to the Michigan Supreme Court. We also strongly encourage Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to use her authority to shut down the risky Line 5 oil pipelines to protect Michigan’s environment and economy.”
The National Wildlife Federation, along with many businesses and concerned citizens, strongly opposed the legislation authorizing a tunnel to house Enbridge’s oil pipeline. The backroom deal by Gov. Rick Snyder put the interests of Enbridge Energy over the needs of millions of Michigan citizens. The handout to Enbridge allowed the company to avoid the normal vetting process of a project of this magnitude — cutting out public comment and input — which is especially egregious considering Enbridge Energy’s track record of spills, accidents, explosions and lack of transparency with the public. There have already been 33 spills from the land-based segments of the 67-year-old Line 5 pipeline. To add insult to injury, the backroom deal with Enbridge foists the risk and liability of operating the tunnel onto Michigan citizens — rather than the company itself, which was responsible for the Kalamazoo River oil spill disaster.
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