Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement that she still opposes the 59-year-old oil pipeline, which environmentalists are concerned could leak into the Great Lakes.
Line 5 delivers 540,000 barrels per day of crude and refined products from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, via Michigan. An underwater section of the runs along the lakebed of the Straits of Mackinac connecting lakes Huron and Michigan.
Whitmer ordered Canadian company Enbridge to shut down the pipeline by May this year, which the company ignored. The governor also filed a lawsuit against Enbridge to enforce the order, but suffered a setback earlier this month when a judge ruled the case would be heard in federal court.
In her statement, Whitmer said dismissing the federal case clears the way for a separate lawsuit filed by attorney general Dana Nessel to go forward in state court. That lawsuit was originally filed in June 2019, but was put on hold while the governor’s lawsuit proceeded.
“Michigan state courts should have the right to determine what happens in our Great Lakes,” said Dan Eichinger, director of the state’s Department of Natural Resources.
Calgary-based Enbridge said it was pleased by Michigan’s decision to drop the federal lawsuit.