Michigan AG sues to shut down oil pipeline in Great Lakes
By DAVID EGGERT
LANSING — Michigan’s attorney general sued Thursday to shut down twin 66-year-old oil pipelines in the Great Lakes, saying they pose an “unacceptable risk” and the state cannot wait five to 10 years for Enbridge Inc. to build a tunnel to house replacement pipes running through the Straits of Mackinac.
Democrat Dana Nessel’s move came the same day she also sought to dismiss the Canadian company’s request for a ruling on the legality of a deal it struck last year with former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to encase a new segment of its Line 5 in the proposed tunnel.
“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.
Nessel said she acted after it became clear talks between Enbridge and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had broken down. Whitmer was pushing to finish the tunnel in two years, while Enbridge was insisting it could not be done before 2024, when it would decommission the existing pipes.
The pipelines are part of Enbridge’s Line 5, which carries 23 million gallons (87 million liters) of crude oil and propane daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.
Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said decommissioning the pipes would result in a “serious disruption” to the energy market, saying the line meets 55% of Michigan’s propane needs, including 65% used in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Refineries served by Line 5 also supply a large portion of the aviation fuel at Detroit Metro Airport.
“We remain open to discussions with the governor, and we hope we can reach an agreement outside of court,” he said. “Enbridge is deeply committed to being part of Michigan’s future. We believe the Straits tunnel is the best way to protect the community and the Great Lakes while safely meeting Michigan’s energy needs.”
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