Enbridge ordered to shut down Line 5 pipelines under Mackinac temporarily

 This file photo shows the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline below the Staits of Mackinac.
This file photo shows the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline below the Staits of Mackinac. (WJRT)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 1:51 PM EDT
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(6/25/2020) - A judge ordered Enbridge to shut down its controversial Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac and give state regulators more information about recently discovered damage.

The Ingham County judge approved a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, which Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel requested on Monday. The flow of oil must stop within 24 hours.

Attorneys from the state and Enbridge are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday to discuss the situation.

Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have expressed deep concern over damage to a support anchor disclosed on Friday. They say Enbridge has not been forthcoming with information about what caused the damage and how the pipeline can operate safely.

The company began sending oil through the undamaged western pipe over the weekend, but the eastern pipe remains closed while officials obtain approval for repairs to the support anchor.

“While the fact that Enbridge reactivated one of the lines before consulting with the State is concerning, the fact that the company has failed to disclose the cause of this damage is equally alarming, considering the impact a breach in the pipeline could have to our state residents and economy,” Nessel said.

Enbridge has been operating the pipelines under a 1953 easement with the state. The company is required to disclose information about damage with Whitmer's office under a 2018 agreement.

Nessel has been seeking to shut down the pipeline permanently and invalidate an agreement with the state to bore a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac to carry the pipelines.

A judge recently upheld agreements between Enbridge and Gov. Rick Snyder's administration for the tunnel, which is designed to contain an oil spill without harming the Great Lakes if an accident occurs.

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