Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is taking legal action to force a shutdown of the Enbridge oil pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac that links two of the Great Lakes.
In a release from the governor’s office, Whitmer’s office said the governor and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Dan Eichinger notified Enbridge that the 1953 easement allowing it to operate dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac to transport petroleum and other products is being revoked and terminated.
According to the governor’s office, this notice means Enbridge must stop operating the two pipelines in the Straits by May 2021 after Michigan’s energy needs are transitioned. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to stop the flow of oil through Line 5 within 180 days.
The line carries oil and liquids used in propane between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario, passing through parts of Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. A 4-mile-long segment divides into two pipes that cross the straits.
“Enbridge has routinely refused to take action to protect our Great Lakes and the millions of Americans who depend on them for clean drinking water and good jobs. They have repeatedly violated the terms of the 1953 easement by ignoring structural problems that put our Great Lakes and our families at risk,” said Governor Whitmer. “Most importantly, Enbridge has imposed on the people of Michigan an unacceptable risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes that could devastate our economy and way of life. That’s why we’re taking action now, and why I will continue to hold accountable anyone who threatens our Great Lakes and fresh water.”
In response to Whitmer’s actions, Enbridge says it is “confident that Line 5 continues to operate safely and that there is no credible basis for terminating.”