Judge orders temporary shut down of Line 5 after damage reported to part of pipeline

A Michigan Circuit Court judge has granted a temporary shutdown of the Line 5 Pipeline that runs along the straits of Mackinac.

Michigan's Attorney General requested a motion earlier this week for a temporary restraining order of the pipeline after owner Enbridge Energy reported partial damage had been incurred to one of the pipe's anchor supports. The company resumed operations shortly after inspecting it.

In a six-page order issued by an Ingham County Circuit Court Judge, the west leg of the pipeline must shut down within the next 24 hours. Along with the east leg, which is currently not operating due to maintenance, the west leg must remain closed until after Attorney General Dana Nessel's motion for a preliminary injunction is held on June 30. 

“Enbridge has failed to provide the State with information about the cause of this significant development involving Line 5, and so I’m very grateful for the Court’s decision today,” Nessel said in a statement. “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."

Judge James S. Jamo cited Enbridge Energy's failure to provide enough information regarding the "nature, extend, and cause(s)" of the damage. It also said the company failed to provide communications between the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) - which oversees the safety of its operations - and the company to the court

"Since 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, this Court grants a temporary restraining order against the Defendants' continued operation of the West Line until a hearing on the State's request for preliminary injunction and further related Court Order," read the restraining order.

RELATED: Michigan AG to request courts shut down Line 5 after reported damage last week

Enbridge first reported damage to Line 5 last Thursday when workers conducting seasonal maintenance discovered one of the anchor supports holding down the west side of the pipeline had shifted, prompting the company to notify state officials and shut down operations.

After further inspection, the company determined no damage had been done to the structure and deemed it safe enough to continue operating, citing approval from federal regulators. 

Both Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer blasted the decision.

"The brazen disregard for the people of Michigan and the safety and well-being of our Great Lakes is unacceptable," said Whitmer.

FOX 2 has reached out Enbridge for comment but did not immediately hear back.

The court will hear oral arguments over a Zoom video call during an injunction at 1:30 p.m. June 30.

The Line 5 Pipeline operates as both a natural gas and oil carrier, operating from Ontario Canada to Wisconsin.