The Latest: Enbridge criticizes Michigan pipeline opinion
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on Michigan officials halting work toward a Great Lakes oil pipeline tunnel (all times local):
Canadian pipeline company Enbridge says it’s “surprised and disappointed” by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s finding that a law authorizing construction of an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the waterway linking Lakes Huron and Michigan is unconstitutional.
Nessel issued her opinion Thursday. Afterward, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered state agencies to take no further actions under the law that the Republican-led Legislature enacted in December.
Enbridge chief legal officer Bob Rooney says the company worked in good faith with Michigan on the tunnel project.
Republican state Rep. Triston Cole of Mancelona says the opinion is “flimsy” and that Nessel “split legal hairs.”
Environmentalists are praising Nessel and Whitmer and calling for the shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.
Liz Kirkwood of For Love of Water says the tunnel plan was based on “backroom deals” that “can’t survive the rule of law.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered state departments and agencies to take no further action on legislation enacted in late 2018 authorizing construction of an oil pipeline tunnel beneath lakes Huron and Michigan.
Whitmer made the move Thursday after Attorney General Dana Nessel issued an opinion labeling the law unconstitutional.
Whitmer and Nessel are both Democrats who were elected last year. They had opposed a deal to build the Straits of Mackinac tunnel reached by former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian pipeline company Enbridge.
Legislation to establish a panel that would oversee the project was rushed to enactment in December.
After taking office in January, Whitmer asked Nessel to examine the law’s constitutionality.
Michigan’s attorney general has deemed unconstitutional a 2018 law that established a panel to oversee construction and operation of an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the channel linking Lakes Huron and Michigan.
Democrat Dana Nessel says in an opinion released Thursday the title of the bill approved by lawmakers did not accurately describe its contents as required by the Michigan Constitution.
The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the measure during a lame-duck session in December. Then-Gov. Rick Snyder signed it and appointed members of the new Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, which later approved a deal Snyder’s administration negotiated with Enbridge Inc. to build the tunnel.
It would house a more than 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) section of Enbridge’s Line 5, which carries oil and natural gas liquids between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.