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Michigan judge temporarily permits one leg of Line 5 to restart, keeps other leg closed

Michigan
Mackinac_Pipeline_39691-159532.jpg70029857

east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace as Enbridge prepares to test the east and west sides of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, establishing a panel to oversee a hotly disputed tunnel that will house an […]

Ingham County, Mich. (WLNS) — An Ingham County judge on Wednesday temporarily permitted the reopening of Line 5’s west segment of pipeline while keeping the east line closed until the owner Enbridge adheres to the requirements of federal regulators. 

“The TRO remains in effect prohibiting the Defendants’ operation of the East Line until such time that the federal regulator, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), has completed its investigation of the damage to the East Line and Defendants have complied with all PHMSA requirements,” the order stated.

The session by Circuit Judge James Jamo lasted more than five hours Tuesday about the pipeline’s continued closure.

The initial closure was ordered June 25 due to damage to one of the anchor supports holding the pipeline in place on the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac. 

The initial temporary restraining order remains in place until a full opinion and order is issued regarding the state’s motion for a different preliminary injunction.

The Circuit Court Judge Jamo did make some changes to the order today though.

Enbridge, the Canadian oil company, can restart the west line for the purpose of conducting an in-line investigation and continue operating based on the results of the investigation, Jamo wrote. The results of the probe must be provided to the state within seven days of the west line’s restart. 

“We remain willing to work with the State going forward to address issues of concern about the safety of Line 5 and its ultimate replacement with The Great Lakes Tunnel that will contain a new section of pipeline. Enbridge is currently seeking permit approval of the tunnel which, upon completion, will make a safe pipeline even safer,” Enbridge wrote in a statement today.

The east line must remain closed until the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has completed an investigation of the line and Enbridge has complied with all federal requirements stemming from that investigation, Jamo wrote. 

Enbridge and the state also must negotiate what documentation still is needed and when it will be produced, with an outline of that plan filed in court by July 7, he ruled.

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