Judge Shuts Down Enbridge Line 5 After It Sustains Damage

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An Ingham County judge ordered Enbridge on Thursday to shut down its Line 5 pipeline after the company reported last week that the line had sustained damage.

The order follows a temporary restraining order requested by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

“It is evident by the pictures we’ve seen that there has been significant damage to an anchor support on the east leg of the pipeline. To date, Enbridge has provided no explanation of what caused this damage and a woefully insufficient explanation of the current condition and safety of the pipeline as a result of this damage,” Nessel said in a statement earlier this week. “We cannot rely on Enbridge to act in the best interests of the people of this State so I am compelled to ask the Court to order them to.”

Enbridge — the company that operates the Line 5 pipelines, which run at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac and pump crude oil —notified the state of Michigan on June 18 that the pipeline had sustained damage. It originally shut down both the east and west legs of Line 5 to inspect the damage, before opening up the west leg again.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested in a letter sent on June 19 that Enbridge provide the state with more information, including the cause of the damage.

Nessel expressed concern over the company restarting the pipeline and praised the court’s decision.

“Enbridge has failed to provide the State with information about the cause of this significant development involving Line 5, and so I’m very grateful for the Court’s decision today,” Nessel said in a statement. “While the fact that Enbridge reactivated one of the lines before consulting with the State is concerning, the fact that the company has failed to disclose the cause of this damage is equally alarming, considering the impact a breach in the pipeline could have to our state residents and economy. With the continued operation of this pipeline, the risk of severe and lasting environmental damage to Michigan’s most important natural resource continues to grow every day.”

Nessel called the restraining order a “short-term fix.”

“If the lines are put back into operation, one mismanaged incident or accident would result in a historic catastrophe for our state,” Nessel said. “Work must continue toward complete removal of Line 5 from our waters.”

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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected].
Photo “Enbridge Pipeline” by Lawrence Welsh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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