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AG Nessel Responds to Court’s Ruling on Wisconsin Line 5 Case

LANSING – Late last week, a federal court in Wisconsin issued its ruling that Enbridge was operating in trespass on the Bad River Reservation and imposed strict requirements the energy company must abide by to address the trespass. In response to the ruling, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued the following statement:

“I applaud the Wisconsin Court’s finding that Line 5 is an impermissible trespass on the Bad River Reservation, as well as the Court’s decision to impose a deadline by which that trespass must be abated. In particular, the Court recognized that recent erosion of the banks of the Bad River creates a threat to the integrity of the pipeline. As I noted in a recent amicus brief in that case, a release of oil from the pipeline at that location would cause grave harm to Lake Superior. For these reasons, this decision is a victory for all who share my concern about protecting the Great Lakes and all that they mean to our way of life in Michigan.”

Attorney General Nessel filed, on behalf of the State of Michigan, an amicus brief in support of an emergency motion by the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the Bad River Reservation aiming to shut down Line 5 in the face of imminent threat posed by rapid erosion of the banks of the Bad River in Wisconsin, a mere 16 miles upstream of Lake Superior.

“With that said, much remains to be done. I will continue to advance my lawsuit to stop a similar trespass on the bottomlands of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron in the Straits of Mackinac. Line 5 remains a ticking time bomb more than 200 feet below the surface of the Great Lakes. The pipeline was struck by anchors or similar objects in 2018 and again in 2020. There remains a very real concern that the next strike could be the fatal blow that causes a major oil release, similar to the 2010 release from Enbridge’s Line 6B into the Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek. A release in the Straits of Mackinac would be catastrophic due to the depth at which the pipeline is located, which would make it particularly difficult to contain and clean up. For these reasons, I will continue to take action to protect the Great Lakes from the threat posed by Line 5.”


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