Governor Whitmer Dismisses Federal Lawsuit Against Enbridge

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday that the state is dismissing its Line 5 federal lawsuit against Enbridge.

The move clears the way for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to move forward with a lawsuit filed in Michigan state 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,” said Governor Whitmer. “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.”

Prior to Governor Whitmer filing a lawsuit in federal court, Attorney General Nessel filed a separate lawsuit in state court in June 2019 to shut down the Line 5 dual pipelines that run through the Straits of Mackinac. The Attorney General’s lawsuit remains in state court, although the judge in that case has paused the lawsuit while the Governor’s lawsuit proceeded in federal court.  

“I fully support the Governor in her decision to dismiss the federal court case and instead focus on our ongoing litigation in state court,” said Attorney General Nessel in at statement. “The state court case is the quickest and most viable path to permanently decommission Line 5. The Governor and I continue to be aligned in our commitment to protect the Great Lakes and this dismissal today will help us advance that goal.”

The Bay Mills Indian Community issued the following statement Tuesday:

“Bay Mills Indian Community remains committed to the safety of the Straits of Mackinac, preserving tribal treaty rights, and protecting cultural resources. Not only do we continue to move forward with actions aimed at removing Line 5 from the Straits, whether it’s state court or federal court, we will keep fighting to protect the Great Lakes. Enbridge’s abysmal safety record speaks for itself — just ask the folks in Kalamazoo.”

Enbridge also issued a statement Tuesday, saying:

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 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.