The Michigan Court of Claims has issued orders accepting FLOW’s and the City of Mackinac Island’s amicus briefs advancing key legal arguments in Enbridge’s Line 5 oil tunnel lawsuit against the State, rejecting opposing arguments by the Canadian oil pipeline company. The ruling in Lansing by Judge Michael Kelly in late September means that vital issues raised by FLOW’s brief and the city’s brief will be considered by the Michigan Court of Claims, including the public trust rights of citizens to draw drinking water from and otherwise use the Great Lakes, and the soils and bottomlands beneath them, unimpaired by private interests.
On August 1, a natural gas pipeline operated by an Enbridge subsidiary exploded in Kentucky. The blast killed one person, injured six others, and blew 30 feet of pipeline out of the ground, resulting in a crater that is 50 feet long, 35 feet wide and 13 feet deep. About 66 million cubic feet of natural gas was released by the explosion, with the resulting fire destroying multiple structures and burning vegetation over approximately 30 acres of land. The risk of a similar on-land explosion with Line 5 is also possible because of the natural gas liquids (NGLs) running the length of its 645-mile transit through Wisconsin and Michigan.
The disclosure by Enbridge that 81 feet of Line 5 has been undermined by powerful currents and is slumping points to something far more serious—and dangerous: The 66-year-old dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac are failing and also at risk of rupture from a ship’s anchor drag that hooks and rips the pipeline wide open. It is also a violation of the law that governs the protection of the public trust in the Great Lakes and the soils beneath them.
Confronted at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday by a full audience passionately and unanimously against a proposed Line 5 oil tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac, the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners voted today to temporary table a misguided and error-filled resolution supporting the oil tunnel. (Click here to view a video of the meeting, once posted by the county.)
The Mackinac Islanders who attended FLOW’s sixth annual Community Update on Line 5 at Community Hall were an economically and politically diverse crowd. What united them was a concern over Line 5, and a desire to learn how FLOW and tribal representatives, lawyers, and risk experts are educating the public about this sunken hazard in the fragile Straits of Mackinac, and how we are pressuring the State of Michigan to shut down Line 5 before an oil spill happens. FLOW has been working with Mackinac Island residents for six years on this issue because they’re at the epicenter of the threat of a Line 5 oil spill.
Today represents a historic turning point for all Michiganders. Attorney General (AG) Dana Nessel took decisive legal action on Pipeline 5 in the Straits of Mackinac when she filed suit in Ingham County Circuit Court to revoke the 1953 Easement that conditionally authorized Enbridge to pump oil through twin pipelines.
Exploiting worker and community fears with bogus claims is the latest in a series of unconscionable tactics deployed by Enbridge to pressure Michigan officials into letting the company occupy the Straits with its current antiquated Line 5 pipeline and later, a tunnel under the lakebed.
Actress Amy Smart and comic book writer, screenwriter, and film and television producer Geoff Johns urge Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to protect our Great Lakes and shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron. Amy: Hi, I’m Amy Smart. Geoff: Hi, I’m Geoff Johns…. Read more »
By Jim Olson, FLOW President and Founder The lawsuit filed by Enbridge in the Michigan Court of Claims on Thursday, June 6, is an attempt to resuscitate a Line 5 oil tunnel law and related agreements that are so riddled with entanglements by the former Governor Snyder Administration with Enbridge, a private corporation, that it… Read more »
By Liz Kirkwood MACKINAC ISLAND, Michigan – The biggest news coming from the Mackinac Policy Conference held here this week wasn’t even listed on the official agenda. Instead, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel made headlines in interviews conducted on the margins of the main affair. Nessel’s message: She intends ASAP to keep her campaign promise… Read more »