The lawsuit had originally been filed in state court in June 2019 by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who has the option of trying to prevent its removal to federal court. Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Line 5 ships 540,000 barrel per day of crude and refined products from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, via Michigan. A 4-mile (6.4-km) section of the aging pipeline runs underwater through the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes and environmentalists are concerned about the risk of an oil leak.
The state ordered the pipeline to shut down by May this year, which Enbridge ignored, and the two sides are embroiled in a legal battle over Line 5’s fate. Michigan has been trying to get the lawsuits heard under state law, while Enbridge has been pushing for federal judges to decide the matter.
Enbridge scored a win last month when a federal judge said a lawsuit brought against the pipeline by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer would be heard in federal court, prompting Whitmer to drop it in favor of a separate case filed by Nessel in 2019. Nessel’s case had been put on hold while the governor’s lawsuit proceeded.
“The removal of the Attorney General’s case to federal court follows a November 16, 2021 ruling which held that the similar (and now dismissed) lawsuit brought by the Governor to force Line 5’s shutdown raised important federal issues and should be heard in federal court,” Enbridge said in a statement.