Fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., June 8, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Detroit News, Dale G. Young

Michigan judge rejects attorney general’s effort to move Line 5 case to state court

Michigan judge rejects attorney general’s effort to move Line 5 case to state court

WASHINGTON — A judge in Michigan has rejected the state attorney general’s effort to get the dispute over the Line 5 cross-border pipeline kicked out of federal court.

U.S. Circuit Court Judge Janet Neff issued the long-awaited written ruling late Tuesday, agreeing with Calgary-based pipeline operator Enbridge Inc. that the dispute involves “substantial federal issues.”

The decision resolves one of the central questions in the case — whether a federal court is the proper forum — and gives additional weight to Enbridge’s argument that the dispute is a bilateral issue for Canada and the U.S. to resolve.

In her ruling, Neff said she’s satisfied that the Line 5 case comprises a “substantial federal question” and that hearing it won’t undermine Michigan’s right to resolve state issues.

It also marks a significant victory for Enbridge, which sought the move to federal court in the first place, a move the state of Michigan has been contesting for the last 12 months.

Neff also agreed to accept two recent supplemental briefs filed by the federal government in Ottawa detailing Canada’s decision to invoke a 1977 treaty designed to ensure the uninterrupted flow of cross-border energy between the two countries.

“Enbridge is pleased with the decision and agrees that this case belongs in federal court, as we’ve asserted all along,” the company said in a statement.

”This is both a federal and international law issue and the federal court will now handle the case.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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