Judge orders full temporary shutdown of Enbridge Line 5 pipeline

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – A Lansing, Michigan judge ordered Enbridge last Thursday to fully shut down the Line 5 pipeline, which flows under the nearby Straits of Mackinac, within 24 hours and to remain closed until a court hearing is held this week. And while this is good news for the present time, says a local resident, a lobbying campaign is taking place which calls for a permanent closure of the line.

“With all the problems Enbridge has had with Line 5 it is good to see a court judge giving them a shutdown notice,” stated Mike Wilton of Dominion Bay, last Friday. 

Mr. Wilton received a message from For Love of Water (FLOW) last Friday. “We are writing to you with fantastic, breaking news. A Lansing judge today ordered Enbridge to fully shut down Line 5 within 24 hours and to remain closed until a court hearing. This legal breakthrough follows action on Monday afternoon by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who filed a request for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to suspend Line 5 operations in the Straits of Mackinac. Her efforts came in response to significant damage to the 67-year-old underwater pipeline discovered last week and Enbridge’s refusal to comply with a written request from (Michigan) Governor Gretchen Whitmer during the weekend to keep it shut while the damage is inspected and the cause is found.”

“It is really something that this has gotten this far and this type of action is taking place,” said Mr. Wilton. “I admire Governor Whitmer’s stance on this issue. It will be interesting to see if the judge decides the line will be closed permanently.” 

Enbridge Inc. has not provided enough information to Michigan officials to show that continued operation of the west leg of the Line 5 twin pipeline is safe, Ingham County Judge James Jamo was quoted as saying in Soo Today on June 26. He told Enbridge to close Line 5 as immediately as possible and no later than 24 hours. 

“Without the temporary order, the risk of harm to the Great Lakes and various communities and businesses that rely on the Great Lakes would be not only substantial, but also in some respects irreparable,” Soo Today quoted Judge Jamo as saying. 

Enbridge’s Line 5 carries oil and natural gas liquids used in propane from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario. A four-mile (6.4-kilometre) segment divides into two pipes that lie on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.

Calls are coming from both FLOW and Bridge to have Michigan lawmakers make the Line 5 shutdown permanent; Mr. Wilton said he has signed and supported both.