Enbridge has filed a federal complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan seeking an injunction to stop the State of Michigan from taking any steps to prevent the operation of Line 5. The attempt to shut down Line 5 interferes with the comprehensive federal regulation of pipeline safety and burdens interstate and foreign commerce in clear violation of federal law and the US Constitution. Enbridge is also moving the complaint filed by the State against Line 5 on November 13 in Michigan state court to the Federal Court.
A federal agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), is responsible for oversight of the dual Line 5 pipelines, not the State of Michigan. In fact, three months ago, the safety of Line 5 was reviewed by PHMSA, and it was found to be fit for service. Therefore, Enbridge believes the State’s attempt to assume the role of safety regulator through its notice purporting to “terminate and revoke” the easement is improper and unlawful.
This is the latest attempt by the State of Michigan to interfere with the operation of this critical infrastructure by assuming authority it does not possess. By contrast, Enbridge continues to live up to all its obligations under its agreements with the State of Michigan. Notably, Enbridge has undertaken a variety of Line 5 projects requested by the State at substantial expense, including installing a new Line 5 crossing under the St. Clair River earlier this year and diligently pursuing permitting for the Great Lakes tunnel project at no cost to taxpayers.
“In the face of continued roadblocks by this Administration it’s time for the State to stop playing politics with the energy needs and anxieties of US and Canadian consumers and businesses that depend on Line 5,” said Vern Yu, Executive Vice President and President, Liquids Pipelines. “It is concerning to see the current Administration is willing compromise these needs. We remain highly committed to protecting the Great Lakes, the environment, and all the people who use these waters while delivering energy that people rely on daily. Enbridge's Line 5 has served Michiganders safely without spilling a drop of oil at the Straits crossing for more than 65 years, over nine different State Administrations.”
A disruption of Line 5 would create a propane shortage, higher energy prices and hardship for Michigan families, especially those on fixed incomes or of modest means. It would also result in a daily shortage of over 14 million gallons of gasoline and other transportation fuels, impacting the entire region, including Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New England, Ontario, and Quebec. Ten regional refineries would be significantly and adversely impacted. Some of these refineries served by Line 5 also supply a large percentage of the aviation fuel at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport and Ohio’s airports.