News Story

Nessel tries again to shut down Line 5

Attorney General offers no alternate method for transporting 540,000 barrels of fuel daily

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a 97-page brief in federal court last week in another effort to shut down a pipeline that transports 540,000 daily barrels of fuel to and through the Lower Peninsula.

In her new argument to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Nessel asks that her office’s long-running case against Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline be moved back to state court. Line 5 forms part of an international supply route supported by both the Biden administration and the Trudeau government.

The brief claims that Enbridge Inc., owner of Line 5, only sought to move the case to federal jurisdiction after a Michigan court agreed to a temporary shutdown of the pipeline. The attorney general also says Enbridge missed a 30-day deadline to seek removal to a federal court.

“The complaint raises state-law claims over which there is no basis for federal court subject-matter jurisdiction,” Nessel writes.

Since taking office in 2019, Nessel has fought to shut down Line 5. She’s made the case in state court, federal court in Michigan, and even in a U.S. district court in Wisconsin.

Nessel argues that Line 5 should have never been allowed.

“(T)he 1953 Easement, which authorized the placement of the Pipelines on Great Lakes bottomlands in the Straits of Mackinac, was void from its inception in the absence of due findings that it would enhance or at least not adversely affect the public trust,” Nessel wrote, adding that continued operation would violate the public trust.

Though she has fought the Line 5 pipeline for years, Nessel has not articulated an alternative method of transporting 540,000 barrels of fuel per day, every day. After the February train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Nessel said she opposes transporting fuels via trains.

Enbridge believes the case should remain in federal court, and accused Nessel of “forum shopping.”

“We are confident that ultimately the Sixth Circuit Court will agree with Judge (Janet) Neff’s decision from August 2022 that this case properly belongs in federal court,” Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said in an email to Michigan Capitol Confidential. “Judge Neff found that ‘such policy considerations as judicial economy, fairness, convenience, equitable administration, and consistent results as counseling for keeping this case in federal court.’

“The Attorney General continues to undermine these considerations through gamesmanship and forum shopping, while ignoring the substantial federal issues she has asserted against Enbridge that should properly be decided by a federal court.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.