November 13, 2020
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, on behalf of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, filed a new complaint in Ingham County Circuit Court today seeking to revoke and terminate the easement granted by the State in 1953 that allows Enbridge to operate its dual pipelines on the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac. The new lawsuit will bring claims in addition to Nessel’s lawsuit filed in 2019 seeking the shutdown of Line 5, which remains pending before Judge James Jamo.
Gov. Whitmer, along with DNR Director Dan Eichinger, earlier today issued a Notice of Revocation and Termination of the 1953 Easement, which gave Enbridge permission to site its dual pipelines on the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac. Citing the Public Trust Doctrine and Enbridge’s repeated violations of the easement as grounds for the actions, the Notice concludes that Enbridge’s Line 5 is a grave and unreasonable risk to the state’s residents and natural resources and requires the pipeline to be shut down 180 days from now, on May 12, 2021.
“I commend Gov. Whitmer and Director Eichinger for their forceful actions today to address the grave threat posed by Enbridge’s unlawful operation of its pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac,” Nessel said. “With the steps they took today, Gov. Whitmer and Director Eichinger are making another clear statement that Line 5 poses a great risk to our state, and it must be removed from our public waterways. The arguments they are making to revoke the easement based on the public trust align with those outlined in my office’s pending lawsuit in Ingham County Circuit Court which seeks to shut down Line 5 to avoid an environmental catastrophe. Because Enbridge has repeatedly violated the terms of its easement, including its duty to exercise due care for protecting public and private rights, termination of the easement is also appropriate and provides another reason to shut down Line 5. I am pleased to support the Governor and the DNR by filing a new lawsuit today that asks the Ingham County Circuit Court to uphold their actions and enforce them. Simply put, Michigan law requires that the pipelines be shut down and the Notice provides a timely and orderly process for achieving that.”