Skip to main content

AG Nessel Files in Federal Court of Appeals Asking for Emergency Shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 Pipeline

LANSING – Today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a brief in support of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the Bad River Reservation in their lawsuit against Enbridge Energy Co. The Band seeks to eject Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline from its Reservation land. In May, Nessel filed a brief in support of the Band’s case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. Nessel’s concern is that erosion of the Bad River’s bank threatens to expose the pipeline directly to the river. This would almost certainly cause the pipeline to rupture and release oil into the river, which flows directly into Lake Superior.

The Federal Court in Wisconsin found that Enbridge is trespassing on the Reservation and ordered it to cease its trespass by shutting down or rerouting Line 5 within three years, to pay in excess of $5 million to the Band, and required Enbridge to adopt a plan by which it will shut down the pipeline if erosion reaches a certain point.  Both Enbridge and the Band have appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, with the Band arguing that the court’s order does not do enough to protect against the threat of an oil spill. Nessel filed today in support of the Band’s appeal.

“The evidence in this case clearly establishes that Enbridge trespassed on the Band’s land and has operated Line 5 illegally since 2013,” Nessel said. “This illegal trespass creates a grave risk of an oil spill that would contaminate the Bad River, the Reservation, and Lake Superior. On behalf of the People of the State of Michigan I am taking this action to protect our Great Lakes from the threat posed by polluters who value their own bottom line more than our priceless natural resources.”


Media Contact: