Michigan AG supports new push to shut down Line 5 pipeline

The Michigan Attorney General has renewed her legal push to close the Line 5 pipeline with a new brief that she filed in Wisconsin federal court Wednesday.

The brief was filed in support of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, who requested an emergency motion to shut down the Enbridge pipeline because it posed a threat to their reservation.

The tribe argued that extreme erosion along the banks of the Bad River in Northwest Wisconsin could threaten the rupture of the pipeline. Last year, a court said the pipeline was technically "trespassing" on the reservation, but did not order an immediate shutdown or rerouting.

Both the state attorney general and the Canadian energy company have been at odds over the pipeline, which opponents say threatens the Great Lakes since the infrastructure runs under the Straits of Mackinac. Supporters argue it could drive up energy prices in the Midwest if the pipeline was shutdown.

"Lake Superior is a priceless natural and cultural resource and, like all the Great Lakes, it is vital to our way of life in Michigan," Nessel said. "As Attorney General, I owe a duty to the people of Michigan to protect all of Michigan’s waters, not only for us today, but also for future generations."

The initial threat that prompted legal challenges from both Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was over a potential oil spill in Lakes Michigan and Huron. This new separate challenge in Wisconsin has to do with concerns of a pipeline rupture near a river that flows into Lake Superior. 

Michigan leadership has been opposed to plans to build a new tunnel around the pipeline as a safeguard to protect it from damage. The project would cost about $500 million, which Enbridge has said it would cover.