Whitmer threatens to seize profits if Enbridge Line 5 keeps operating

The governor’s deadline to shut down the pipeline is Wednesday
A Enbridge company diver inspecting the Line 5 tunnel under the Straits. (UPEC Courtesy Photo)
A Enbridge company diver inspecting the Line 5 tunnel under the Straits. (UPEC Courtesy Photo)(WLUC)
Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 5:15 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is threatening to go after Enbridge’s profits from a Great Lakes oil pipeline if it isn’t shut down by the Wednesday deadline she set last fall.

Whitmer issued the warning Tuesday in a letter to Enbridge, a Canadian oil transport company. Whitmer ordered the company last November to close the line by May 12.

She agrees with environmentalists and native tribes that a 68-year-old section of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac is vulnerable to a spill. The pipeline carries crude oil from Alberta to refineries in the Midwest and eastern Canada.

Enbridge says the pipeline is safe and won’t be shut down unless a federal court or agency requires it. Supporters of the pipeline say losing it would cause economic damage and job losses.

Enbridge is moving forward with plans to bore a tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac to carry the pipeline through the bedrock below the water. The company says the $500 million tunnel would capture any spilled oil if its pipeline ever ruptures, preventing water contamination.

The Michigan Legislature approved a deal for the tunnel shortly before former Gov. Rick Snyder left office in December 2018.

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