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Nessel asks federal court to move Enbridge lawsuit back to home territory

Michigan Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks at a campaign rally Sunday in East Lansing, Mich.
Bill Pugliano
Getty Images
Michigan Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks at a campaign rally Sunday in East Lansing, Mich.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking a federal court to move her lawsuit against Enbridge back to a state court. Line 5 opponents say it’s an encouraging move that could lead to the shutdown of the pipeline.

Nessel’s lawsuit says Enbridge’s pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac violates Michigan’s public trust doctrine. Litigation went on in a state court for a year before Enbridge took the case to federal court.

Now, Nessel has filed a motion to bring the case back to home territory, arguing the courts made multiple errors in moving the case out of state.

Sean McBrearty is with Oil and Water Don’t Mix. He said the state court is a more appropriate venue for this case, and the courts made a mistake in letting Enbridge "pick its own venue."

“This case is about the people’s rights under the public trust doctrine to protect the waters and bottomlands of the Great Lakes," Nessel said. "Historically and by statute, cases like that are supposed to be heard in state court. It’s a state issue, not a federal issue.”

Nessel’s request was announced March 3rd. Enbridge has 10-days to respond. A federal judge will then decide whether to take the case.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corp Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She is covering rural environmental issues, public health and Michigan commerce. Homsi has a bachelor’s from Central Michigan University in environmental studies, journalism and anthropology. During her undergraduate, she was a beat reporter for CMU’s student newspaper Central Michigan Life and interned for the Huron Daily Tribune. She has also interned for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy in the superfund section. *Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms, more info at