New year, old issues: Enbridge, state of Michigan renew Line 5 hostilities in court


Published January 18, 2022 at 2:39 pm

WASHINGTON — Enbridge Inc. and the state of Michigan are facing off in court once again in the latest chapter of the ongoing Line 5 pipeline saga.

In new court documents, state Attorney General Dana Nessel is reprising her argument that the dispute over the cross-border gas line belongs in state court.

And Calgary-based Enbridge says Michigan’s effort to shut down the pipeline is an international issue that should be heard by a federal judge. 

In November 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered the line shuttered for fear of an environmental catastrophe in the Straits of Mackinac, where it crosses the Great Lakes.

But District Court Judge Janet Neff agreed that the case was a federal matter, prompting Nessel and Whitmer to abandon their original challenge. 

They’ve now taken it up again by way of a separate 2019 circuit court complaint that Enbridge again wants moved into federal jurisdiction — and which Neff herself is hearing again. 

“The present action was pending in state court for nearly two and a half years before (Enbridge) removed it to this court,” Nessel argues in the documents, accusing the company of tactical foot-dragging. 

She says the law makes it clear that cases can only be removed to Federal Court within 30 days of a complaint being filed. 

“It is more than two years too late, and federal courts do not condone this type of gamesmanship and abuse of the removal statutes.”

Enbridge has not yet filed a response to the state’s latest brief.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18,2022.

The Canadian Press

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