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Statement from Governor Whitmer's Office on Today's Legal Filings Regarding Line 5

June 27, 2019


Statement from Governor Whitmer’s Office on Today’s Legal Filings Regarding Line 5
Governor Whitmer directs Department of Natural Resources to review Enbridge’s compliance with the 1953 Easement


LANSING, Mich. – Tiffany Brown, Press Secretary for Governor Whitmer, issued the following statement commenting on today’s legal filings regarding Line 5:

“The governor’s primary goal has always been and remains to get the Line 5 dual pipelines out of the Straits of Mackinac as soon as possible. The risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes, and the harm that would follow to Michigan’s economy, tourism, and our way of life, is far too great to allow the pipelines to continue to operate indefinitely. As a recent National Transportation Safety Board report documented, any doubt as to the risk posed by Line 5 was erased in April 2018 when a barge dragging a 12,000-pound anchor nearly caused disaster. 

The governor has never viewed litigation as the best solution to this problem, and for this reason she entered negotiations with Enbridge about the possible construction of a tunnel. Her reasonable requirement has been that the dual pipelines through the Straits cease operation at a date certain, after allowing for a period of transition. Enbridge, however, has insisted that it be allowed to run oil through the Great Lakes indefinitely. Rather than negotiating, Enbridge walked away and filed a lawsuit. Today, Governor Whitmer filed her response asking the court to dismiss Enbridge’s lawsuit. 

“For several months the attorney general has indicated she would use her independent authority to seek to shut down the dual pipelines through the Straits if Enbridge did not reach an acceptable agreement with the governor. Today, the attorney general followed through on her promise by filing a separate action. 

“Although the governor remains willing to talk with Enbridge, her commitment to stopping the flow of oil through the Great Lakes as soon as possible – and Enbridge’s decision to sue the governor rather than negotiate – will at some point require her to take legal action, as well. For that reason, today the governor has directed the Department of Natural Resources to begin a comprehensive review of Enbridge’s compliance with the 1953 Easement, and other factors affecting its validity. The 1953 Easement created the terms and conditions under which Enbridge could operate the dual pipelines on the bottomlands of the Great Lakes. Possible violations of the easement are just one of several grounds by which the state could seek to shut down the pipelines, some of which the attorney general has already invoked today.”