Gov. Whitmer to AG Nessel: Is the Line 5 law constitutional?

Jan 3, 2019
Originally published on January 4, 2019 9:23 am

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to know if a law passed during last year’s lame duck session is constitutional, and she’s enlisted new Attorney General Dana Nessel to look into the matter.

Outgoing governor Rick Snyder signed a law before leaving office. It created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority. That authority will oversee a tunnel to house a new section of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. That pipeline carries oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits of Mackinac.

In a press release, Nessel said, “This request raises serious legal concerns. In no way should any entity rely on this Act to move forward unless and until these matters have been resolved.”

Here’s more from the press release:

“There are serious and significant concerns regarding PA 359, which the previous governor and legislature initiated and passed without the care and caution one would expect for an issue that will have a monumental impact on our state,” said Nessel.  Both Nessel and Whitmer have been vocal about their concerns regarding Line 5.

“Governor Whitmer has rightly – and immediately – raised important questions about the legality and statutory underpinnings of this Act and my office is prepared to tackle her request for an opinion immediately,” added Nessel.  “I encourage any interested or concerned party to forward a brief or legal memo on the issues raised by the opinion request.”

During their campaigns, both Nessel and Whitmer called for Line 5 to be shut down.

Incoming Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield helped craft the final version of the law. He says the legislation is constitutional.

Editor’s note: Enbridge is one of Michigan Radio’s corporate sponsors.

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