LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday that the State of Michigan will voluntarily dismiss its federal court case against Enbridge regarding a Notice of Revocation and Termination of Easement of the Line 5 dual oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. Gov. Whitmer originally filed the lawsuit against Enbridge to Michigan state court in November of 2020 before the case was moved to federal court.

“Today, I took further action to protect the Great Lakes from an oil spill and help us stay focused on getting the Line 5 dual oil pipelines out of the water as quickly as possible,” Gov. Whitmer said. “While I respectfully disagree, the federal court has now decided to keep the lawsuit I filed in November 2020. I believe the people of Michigan, and our state courts, should have the final say on whether this oil company should continue pumping 23 million gallons of crude oil through the Straits of Mackinac every day. After today’s action, Attorney General Dana Nessel’s lawsuit, filed in June 2019, should now be able to move forward expeditiously in state court. Our goal here remains the same: protecting the Great Lakes, protecting Michigan jobs, and protecting Michigan’s economy.” 

Attorney General Nessel’s suit, which sought to shut down the Line 5 pipeline, had been paused in state court as the judge awaited the conclusion of Gov. Whitmer’s case in federal court.

Following the development, Enbridge issued the following response:

“Enbridge is pleased by the State of Michigan’s decision to drop its case to enforce its November 2020 notice of revocation and termination related to Line 5. 

Enbridge Response

Enbridge will continue to pursue its case in federal court to affirm federal jurisdiction over Line 5.

Earlier this year, Canada invoked the 1977 Transit Pipeline Treaty. U.S. Federal Judge Janet Neff in a jurisdictional order took note that ‘the federal issues in this case are under consideration at the highest levels of this country’s government.’

Enbridge will continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to Michigan and the region. We will continue to pursue the Great Lakes Tunnel to house a replacement section of Line 5 so that it can continue to serve the region safely.”

Sault Tribe Response

In response to the dismissal, Sault Tribe Chairman Aaron Payment sent the following statement in a press release:

“The Sault Tribe remains united with all tribal nations in Michigan in our unwavering opposition to Line 5. I hope the Governor’s move is a retrenchment and not a retreat. On our tribal leader call with the Governor’s Legal Counsel today, we made clear that the Governor needs to make a clear statement that a tunnel is not tenable.

Enbridge’s failure to maintain the pipeline makes Line 5 an imminent threat to our community and the state of Michigan as a whole. I pledge to continue to work with the Governor and the Biden Administration to uphold our treaty rights and make clear that both the current pipeline and the proposed tunnel are in conflict with their values of transitioning to a clean energy future. We will continue our all-hands-on-deck effort until the pipeline is removed from the Straits entirely.” 

Michigan DNR Response

Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Dan Eichinger, who filed the lawsuit alongside Gov. Whitmer in 2020, released a statement in support of the move.

“Michigan state courts should have the right to determine what happens in our Great Lakes,” Eichinger said. “No oil company should be able to dictate to Michiganders what happens in our sovereign lands and waters. This dismissal ensures that the people of Michigan have a say in protecting our Great Lakes.”