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Legal fight over future of Line 5 pipeline returns to court

One of the many signs opposing Line 5 seen along roads in Leelanau County, Michigan.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
One of the many signs opposing Line 5 seen along roads in Leelanau County, Michigan.

A federal appeals court will hear arguments Thursday afternoon in a case involving the future of an oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to determine if her lawsuit seeking to shutdown Line 5 belongs in a state court or federal court.

The case started in state court in 2019. Later Enbridge, the owner of the pipeline, moved the case to federal court.

Line 5’s future has been debated in recent years.

Environmentalists have called for shutting down the pipeline that carries Canadian crude oil through the Straits of Mackinac. They contend the decades-old pipeline poses a threat to the Great Lakes.

Enbridge insists the pipeline is safe, and will be safer once a new tunnel is built.

“We are confident that ultimately the Sixth Circuit Court will agree with the lower court’s decisions from August 2022 and November 2021 that this dispute—which has generated a U.S. foreign policy controversy—properly belongs in federal court,” said Ryan Duffy, Enbridge spokesman.

 Editor's note: Enbridge is one of Michigan Public's corporate sponsors.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.