Enbridge’s legal battles continues; will defy state request

In November, Governor Whitmer demanded Line 5 be shut down by May
Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 5:07 PM EST
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STRAITS OF MACKINAC, Mich. (WLUC) - Enridge says it will defy the state’s demand to stop operations of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge says it has reviewed Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request and believes she has overstepped her authority.

“We really believe the state is defying the law with this notice,” said Ryan Duffy, Spokesperson for Enbridge.

In November, Governor Whitmer demanded the line be shut down by May. Enbridge is seeking an injunction that would stop the state from taking action. The disagreement now heads to federal court.

“We meet all of our commitments from the state and the state has failed to show otherwise,” said Duffy.

Line 5 is the pipeline that travels through the Great Lakes and delivers light crude oil to be transformed into other energies including propane.

Enbridge argues it is a federal government agency (the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration or PHMSA) that is its safety regulator, not the state of Michigan. Opponents of the line, expressed some disagreement:

“They tend to overlook the fact that they have an agreement with the state to use the bottom of the Straits,” said Horst Schmidt, President of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition.

According to Enbridge, 65% of the propane used in the U.P. comes from Line 5.

“There would be serious impacts if anything were to interrupt Line 5,” said Duffy.

The Upper Peninsula Environmental Collation says there are other dealers building up their storage capacity that would be able to provide Upper Michigan with propane.

“We don’t see any of the propaganda by Enbridge and its allies,” said Schmidt.

Support for Enbridge has often been split along party lines. In 2018, it was former Republican Governor Rick Snyder who reached an agreement with the company to build the Great Lakes Tunnel Project.

It would place the pipeline up to 250 feet below the lakebed within concreate walls.

An agreement Democrat Governor Whitmer campaigned against.

“It’s really foolish and dangerous,” said Whitmer on Oct. 29, 2018. “I will go to court. I will challenge it.”

Courts have previously upheld the agreement between the company and the former governor.

The most recent action taken by Governor Whitmer now awaits a decision from federal court.

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