A Michigan judge has ruled in favor of Enbridge Inc. in a long-running dispute with the state over the Line 5 cross-border pipeline.
In her ruling on Thursday, Judge Janet Neff said the matter is in federal court — a blow to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s bid to close the pipeline.
This is the second time in nine months that Neff has sided with Enbridge over a question of jurisdiction. One of the main issues at hand is whether federal court is the most appropriate forum for a Line 5 case.
In November 2021, the judge rejected the Michigan attorney general’s efforts to transfer the case to state court. In a similar decision Thursday, Neff wrote that the Line 5 case involved a “substantial federal question.”
Later that November, Gov. Whitmer dropped the lawsuit, saying the state would pursue a separate case with the same objective.
Whitmer has been trying to close Line 5 since November 2020 for fear of spilling into the Strait of Mackinac, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, where the pipeline crosses the Great Lakes.
Supporters, including the Canadian federal government, have called Line 5 an important and indispensable source of energy for Ontario, Quebec and several Midwestern states.
Environmental activists fear a langar strike or a technical snag could cause havoc in one of the region’s most important watersheds.
Earlier today, Enbridge Inc. closed a deal to take over operations of the Gray Oak oil pipeline in Texas, a 1,367-kilometre pipeline with a shipping capacity of 900,000 barrels per day.