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MI AG Nessel Files State Reply to Enbridge Brief
August 15, 2019
LANSING - Saying that “… [Enbridge] repeatedly mischaracterizes the State Defendants’ arguments … [and] improperly attempt to re-write the title of Act 359, inventing a new, broader object ….” the State of Michigan today filed its reply brief to Enbridge’s August 1 brief in Enbridge Energy, et.al. v State of Michigan, et.al. (No. 19-000090-MZ).
The case, originally filed in Court of Claims by Enbridge June 6, involves the constitutionality of 2018 PA 359 and the creation of the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority. The State argues, as Attorney General Opinion No. 7309 concluded, that the statute creating the Authority is unconstitutional because it violated the Title-Object Clause. The crux of the dispute is that the title of Act 359 – which was pushed through the Legislature in lame duck at the end of 2018 – violated that provision of the Michigan Constitution in two ways. First, the title did not provide fair notice to legislators and the public of substance of the bill. Second, it improperly combined two unrelated purposes: the Mackinac Bridge and a proposed “utility tunnel” meant to house a new Enbridge oil pipeline.
The court will determine if it wants to hear oral argument before issuing a decision.
Please note: Briefing will begin on September 16 in the Attorney General’s separate lawsuit in the Ingham County Circuit Court against Enbridge. That lawsuit seeks a determination that the Line 5 pipelines in the Straits should be decommissioned due to the significant risk of a catastrophic spill from an anchor strike or operational failure.