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Attorney General Dana Nessel says legal action on Line 5 could be close

Ballard Marine Construction
The east Line 5 oil pipeline, which was struck by an anchor last April.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says she’s ready to go to court to force Enbridge to shut down a pipeline, Line 5, that moves oil and gas on a route that runs through the Straits of Mackinac. That’s if the energy company and the state don’t reach a deal by the end of June.

But Nessel says it also sets a deadline for negotiations on the future of the pipeline.

“I believe that it is possible in the event that it ruptures, we’ll see the biggest oil spill in American history. It will be devastating to the state of Michigan, devastating to our economy, to our natural resources, to our drinking supply,” says Nessel.

Nessel says the dangers to the Great Lakes are too big to wait much longer.

“There are a number of legal avenues that we can pursue, and we are ready to go down any one of those legal avenues,” she says.

An Enbridge spokesman says the company’s ready to invest $500 million on a tunnel to house a replacement section of the pipeline that runs under the Straits. That's if the state gives its approval; Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered a haltto the tunnel project in March, after Nessel said a law creating a state authority to oversee construction of the tunnel was unconstitutional.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.