NATIONAL NEWS

Federal appellate panel sends Michigan pipeline challenge to state court

Jun 17, 2024, 2:16 PM

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s lawsuit seeking to shut down part of a petroleum pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac belongs in state court, a federal appellate panel ruled Monday.

The pipeline’s operator, Enbridge Inc., moved the case from state court to federal court more than two years past the deadline for changing jurisdictions. A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found Enbridge clearly missed the deadline and ordered the case remanded to state court.

Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Nessel filed the lawsuit in June 2019 seeking to void a 1953 easement that enables Enbridge to operate a 4.5-mile (6.4-kilometer) section of Line 5 beneath the straits, which link Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Concerns over the section rupturing and causing a catastrophic spill have been growing since 2017, when Enbridge engineers revealed they had known about gaps in the section’s protective coating since 2014. A boat anchor damaged the section in 2018, intensifying fears of a spill.

Nessel won a restraining order from a state judge in June 2020, although Enbridge was allowed to restart operations after complying with safety requirements. The energy company moved the lawsuit into federal court in December 2021.

Nessel argued to the 6th U.S. Circuit panel that the lawsuit belongs in state court. During oral arguments before the panel in Cincinnati in March, her attorneys insisted the case invokes the public trust doctrine, a legal concept in state law in which natural resources belong to the public, as well as the Michigan Environmental Protection Act.

Enbridge attorneys countered the case should stay in federal court because it affects trade between the U.S. and Canada. Line 5 moves petroleum products from northwestern Wisconsin through Michigan into Ontario.

The judges — Richard Griffin, Amul Thapor and John Nalbandian — did not address the merits of the case.

Enbridge filed a separate federal lawsuit in 2020 arguing that the state’s attempt to shut down the pipeline interferes with the federal regulation of pipeline safety and could encourage copycat actions that would impede interstate and international petroleum trading. That case is pending.

Enbridge also has been working to secure permits to encase the section of pipeline beneath the straits in a protective tunnel.

The pipeline is at the center of a legal dispute in Wisconsin as well. A federal judge in Madison last summer gave Enbridge three years to shut down part of Line 5 that runs across the Bad River Band of Lake Superior’s reservation. The company has proposed rerouting the pipeline around the reservation and has appealed the shutdown order to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That case is pending.

National News

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden tries to balance his condemnation of the attack on Trump with the ongoing 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland security and law enforcement officials were briefing President Joe Biden on Sunday about the apparent assassination attempt on his predecessor, Donald Trump, as the White House continued to call for national unity and condemn the stunning act of violence. Vice President Kamala Harris was joining Biden for an update from top […]

14 minutes ago

FILE - President Ronald Reagan waves and then looks up before being shoved into the President's lim...

Associated Press

Reagan survived an assassination attempt and his response changed the trajectory of his presidency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The would-be assassin got off six shots in 1.7 seconds, nearly taking the life of a president and changing the trajectory of a presidency. It happened on a dreary March afternoon in 1981. President Ronald Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton hotel after giving a speech to a union group when John […]

1 hour ago

A 150 million year old dinosaur skeleton is displayed at the Natural History Museum's new welcome c...

Associated Press

Gnatalie is the only green-boned dinosaur found on the planet. She will be on display in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest dinosaur being mounted at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles is not only a member of a new species — it’s also the only one found on the planet whose bones are green, according to museum officials. Named “Gnatalie” (pronounced Natalie) for the gnats that swarmed during the […]

2 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage by U.S. Sec...

Associated Press

What we know about the 20-year-old suspect in the apparent assassination attempt of Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The man identified as the shooter in the apparent assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump was a 20-year-old from a Pittsburg suburb not far from the campaign rally where one attendee was killed. Authorities say Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, opened fire at the rally before being killed by […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Trump is injured but ‘fine’ after apparent assassination attempt leaves rally-goer and gunman dead

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) — On the heels of an apparent attempt to kill him, former President Donald Trump called Sunday for unity and resilience as shocked leaders across the political divide recoiled from the shooting that left him injured but “fine” and the gunman and a rally-goer dead. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said the […]

3 hours ago

FILE - An Amazon worker delivers packages in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 2020. July sales events have be...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day deals are almost here. Should you take advantage of them?

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s summertime, and the bargains seem easy at a time when many consumer prices are high. July sales events have become a seasonal revenue driver for the retail industry since Amazon launched its first Prime Day back in 2015. While consumers may be enticed by the advertised can’t-miss savings on some […]

7 hours ago

Federal appellate panel sends Michigan pipeline challenge to state court