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Line 5 mediation between Enbridge and Michigan delayed, will continue through September

The Mackinac Bridge connects Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas, and is five miles long.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
The Mackinac Bridge, just east of where Line 5 crosses beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Talks between the State of Michigan and the Canadian energy company Enbridge have been delayed.

Since April, the two sides have been in court-ordered mediation regarding the future of Line 5, an oil and gas pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered the shutdown of Line 5 last November, and filed suit in state court. Enbridge filed a federal countersuit, and maintains that decisions regarding the pipeline shouldn’t be made at the state level.

Now, Enbridge and Michigan are tied up in a mess of legal battles.

In February of this year, federal judge Janet Neff ordered the two sides to hold meetings with a third party mediator, to try and come to an agreement before cases are heard.

Enbridge and Michigan both told the court in April they expected to finish those talks by the end of August.

But a document filed in federal court this week, stated that their last scheduled meeting was cancelled and that mediation would continue until at least the end of September.

It will now be over a month before the outcome of the ongoing deliberation is known. Once mediation has concluded, there may be a better picture of what might happen with Line 5— or at least when and in which court the cases will be heard.

Patrick Shea was a natural resources reporter at Interlochen Public Radio. Before joining IPR, he worked a variety of jobs in conservation, forestry, prescribed fire and trail work. He earned a degree in natural resources from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and his interest in reporting grew as he studied environmental journalism at the University of Montana's graduate school.