AG Nessel Calls on MPSC to reject Enbridge's attempt to bypass review process for building new pipelines

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 4:22 PM EDT
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Attorney General Dana Nessel recently urged the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to reject an attempt by Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership to bypass the normal legal process for reviewing proposals to locate and construct new oil pipelines in Michigan.

"Enbridge's proposed new pipeline must be thoroughly and publicly vetted through the process required by Michigan law, including full review by the MPSC," said Nessel. "There is too much at stake to allow anything else."

Enbridge submitted an application on April 17 to the MPSC under the law that governs oil pipeline siting a 1929 Public Act to approve the construction of a new pipeline in a proposed tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac to replace part of its Line 5.

Nessel filed comment opposing Enbridge's request on Wednesday, and explained that it should be denied for several reasons:

-Enbridge's project is not, as it claims, simply "maintenance" of the pipelines approved in 1953; it proposes to locate and build a new and different pipeline.

-Act 16 and MPSC's rules plainly require an application to locate and construct a new oil pipeline.

-Enbridge's claim that a new approval is "never" required for this type of project is false; Enbridge itself has previously applied for approval to replace sections of other pipelines in Michigan.

-The MPSC has a duty to consider the potential environmental impacts of the project that cannot be bypassed through Enbridge's requested declaratory ruling.

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