Line 5 legal saga appears positioned to go on and on

We’d like to think that last week’s court decision affirming the legal package behind Canadian company Enbridge’s efforts to built a tunnel in the bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac to house controversial Line 5 would be the end of the legal wrangling surrounding the issue.

That isn’t likely to be the case, however, as state officials are vowing to push on to the appellate level.

A Michigan Court of Claims judge last week found that Michigan legislators did not violate the state constitution with their decision to allow construction of the oil pipeline tunnel.

The Associated Press reported lawmakers OK’d the agreement during a lame-duck session last December over objections that the authorizing measure was drafted sloppily and rushed to enactment before former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s term expired.

Attorney General Dana Nessel, a newly elected Democrat, issued an opinion in March that the bill was unconstitutional because its provisions far exceeded what its title specified. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, another newly elected Democrat, then ordered state agencies not to carry out the agreement.

Enbridge filed a lawsuit requesting a ruling from the Court of Claims.

The pipes carry crude oil and natural gas liquids used to make propane. The underground line runs between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario. The Straits of Mackinac segment is divided into two adjacent pipes, AP and other outlets have reported.

Environmentalists and others claim the 66-year-old pipes are vulnerable to a spill that would do catastrophic damage to the lakes and shorelines.

Our position in all of this remains unchanged: The tunnel is far from a perfect solution but it was and is, by far, the most palatable of those presented.

Regrettably, the only people who are going to win in the next phase, in a manner of speaking, are the lawyers.


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