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Judge upholds law allowing Great Lakes oil pipeline tunnel

map of Line 5
Enbridge Energy
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A Michigan judge has handed a victory to a company seeking to build a tunnel that would house a Great Lakes oil pipeline.

Judge Michael Kelly of the Michigan Court of Claims ruled Thursday that the state Legislature did not violate the Michigan Constitution last year by approving a deal between former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Enbridge Inc.

The agreement calls for shutting down Enbridge's Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, a channel linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. A replacement pipeline would run through a tunnel to be constructed beneath the lake bottom.

Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel contends the 2018 law authorizing the deal was unconstitutional because it went beyond what was reflected in its title.

Kelly disagreed, saying the title adequately reflected the law's intentions.

In a statement, Enbridge praised the court’s decision and said it's committed to the tunnel plan.

We are pleased that the Michigan Court of Claims ruled in our favor. We are reviewing the decision and may have further comment. Enbridge remains fully committed to the Great Lakes Tunnel project. We continue to believe the tunnel is the best solution for Michigan and that Line 5 can continue to be safely operated during the period while the tunnel is being constructed. And we are committed to build it.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’ll appeal the court’s decision.

Editor's note: Enbridge is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.
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Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a general assignment reporter. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio and WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing.
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