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Michigan responds on Line 5: 'This case is a state-law action through and through'

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for the state of Michigan say the dispute over the Line 5 pipeline belongs in state court, countering efforts by Canada and others to have it heard by a federal judge. 

In documents filed in court Tuesday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also argues that Canada has no legal basis to invoke a 1977 treaty that covers cross-border pipelines. 

The brief is Michigan’s stern reply to the argument by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., the pipeline’s owner, that the case belongs in federal court.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants the pipeline shut down for fear of an environmental disaster in the Straits of Mackinac, an ecologically sensitive waterway in the Great Lakes. 

Enbridge has rejected Whitmer’s claim that the company has violated the terms of its agreement with Michigan to operate the line, which transports oil and natural gas liquids, and has refused to shut it down voluntarily. 

The two sides are currently engaged in court-ordered mediation talks. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2021. 

The Canadian Press