3 AGs back Nessel in Line 5 suit

    Sign at a Mackinac Island shop | Susan J. Demas

    Three state attorneys general are backing Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s arguments to decommission the Line 5 oil pipeline.

    A judge ruled in October in favor of Enbridge, the Canadian company that owns the pipeline and is seeking to build a tunnel around it. Nessel has appealed the decision.

    Nessel appeals Enbridge decision

    The attorneys general of Wisconsin and Minnesota filed an amicus brief on Tuesday alongside non-Great Lakes State California in support of Michigan’s right to protect the public’s rights to public trust waters.

    “It is rare to have the amicus support of other state attorneys general in a state case but the attorneys general for two of our fellow Great Lakes states and the state with one of the longest coastlines in the country clearly recognize the severity and the magnitude of this issue and the important role states play in protecting the public trust,” Nessel said in a press release. “We are grateful that the Minnesota, Wisconsin and California Attorneys General have joined forces with us to put the protection of our freshwater lakes over corporate profit.”

    Nessel argues that the operation of Line 5 violates the public trust doctrine and the Michigan Environmental Protection Act because it would likely cause pollution.

    Enbridge denies state’s report that it could evade oil spill cleanup costs

    A Court of Claims judge upheld the 2018 law signed by former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder allowing Line 5 to keep operating. Nessel had issued an opinion that it was unconstitutional.

    Both Enbridge and Nessel filed motions for summary disposition in September and filed their responses to those motions on Tuesday. Both can now file reply briefs on Dec. 10 and an Ingham County Circuit Court judge will determine if an oral argument will be had before they make a decision.

    Anna Liz Nichols
    Anna Liz Nichols covers criminal justice, the environment and the Legislature. She has reported for several publications, including MLive and Michigan State University’s award-winning student paper, the State News, where she covered the many tendrils of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. She is finishing up a degree in journalism and environmental studies at Michigan State University, graduating May 2020.