Michigan Attorney General Nessel Responds to MPSC Decision on Line 5 Tunnel Siting.

December 1, 2023.  

LANSING – Today, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved the application for Enbridge Energy to site Line 5 within a tunnel through the bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac, with four conditions:

  1. Enbridge must receive all governmental approvals & no change to the route/location can be approved without further proceedings.
  2. No third-party utilities may be located in the tunnel without an application for Public Service Commission review and approval.
  3. Enbridge must provide the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority with a risk assessment.
  4. Enbridge must construct the pipeline in a manner that exceeds federal regulations to ensure the safety, integrity, and reliability of the replacement pipeline segment.

The MPSC’s order in the case is available here.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel participated in this case by asking the MPSC to conduct a full and robust environmental assessment prior to making its decision. Nessel responded to the MPSC’s decision with the following statement:

“In issuing its decision today, the Michigan Public Service Commission highlighted the risk posed by the pipelines currently located on the bottom-lands of the Straits of Mackinac and the catastrophic effects an oil spill would have on the Great Lakes.  Even with today’s approval, the fact remains that we are still years away from the tunnel actually being built. In the meantime, Line 5 is a ticking time-bomb in the heart of the Great Lakes.

“As Michigan’s top law enforcement official, I filed a case in state court against Enbridge on behalf of the People of Michigan to protect Michigan’s Great Lakes from the threat posed by Line 5. I am committed to seeing that case through, and I will always take action to protect Michigan’s citizens and natural resources from the threat of pollution.”

In September of this year, Attorney General Nessel filed a Brief on Appeal in the Enbridge Line 5 case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Nessel is asking the Sixth Circuit to order that the case seeking to shut down the aging and dangerous oil pipeline be sent back to state court, where it was originally filed and litigated for over a year.

“This is a Michigan matter that belongs in a Michigan court. Enbridge voluntarily litigated this case in state court for over a year before deciding it would prefer a different forum. Now that the Sixth Court has agreed to hear our case, I am hopeful that they will send this case back to state court where it belongs,” Nessel added.