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Gov. Whitmer would like to resolve Line 5 dispute with Enbridge out of court

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she's open to renew talks with Enbridge Energy about the future of its oil pipeline through the Mackinac Straits.

Last week, Enbridge – which is a Michigan Radio sponsor – asked the state Court of Claims to consider thelegality of agreements it reached with former Governor Rick Snyder to build an oil pipeline tunnel.

Michigan’s attorney general has until June 27 to respond to Enbridge’s lawsuit.

But Whitmer would like to resolve the dispute outside the courtroom. 

“If there is a way to get that pipeline out of the water at a date certain so that we can give everyone confidence that we’re going to protect the Great Lakes.  That’s something I’m still interested in having that conversation,” says Whitmer.

Whitmer says otherwise, litigation over Line 5 could drag on for the next decade.

Environmentalists have called for shutting down the oil pipeline altogether. They fear a massive oil leak could result if the aging pipeline were to break or if it were struck by an anchor by a passing ship. An oil spill in the turbulent waters of the Mackinac Straits would be difficult to contain and could endanger the drinking water for many in the Great Lakes region. 

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.