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Enbridge responds to AG’s appeal to move lawsuit back to state

An Enbridge Energy sign near the route of Line 5 before it enters the Straits of Mackinac.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
An Enbridge Energy sign near the route of Line 5 before it enters the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge Energy is responding to a request by the Michigan Attorney General to move her lawsuit against the energy company back to a state court. Enbridge said her appeal undermines a federal court’s “conditions of fairness.”

The lawsuit said 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.

In her motion, Nessel argues the district and trial courts made multiple errors in moving the case out-of-state.

But a statement from Enbridge said the company is confident District Court Judge Janet Neff made the correct decision to move the case to a federal forum. Neff said in August the case belongs in a federal court where it can receive proper and fair policy considerations.

Enbridge said Nessel “seeks to promote gamesmanship and forum shopping” with her motion.

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

Read Enbridge's full statement below:

"We are confident that Judge Neff’s August 2022 decision is correct. She said the Attorney General’s case properly belongs in federal court, and the AG “desires a race to judgment and a collision course between the state and federal forum” and to “perpetuate a forum battle.” The Judge found that “policy considerations as judicial economy, fairness, convenience, equitable administration, and consistent results as counseling for keeping this case in federal court.”

The AG seeks to undermine these considerations and promote gamesmanship and forum shopping, while ignoring the substantial federal issues that are properly decided in federal court and not state court.

In the meantime, because of the Attorney General’s recent actions, Judge Neff has stayed the AG's case pending the appeal and thus it will sit dormant until the appeal is decided. This stay order, however, does not affect the Enbridge v. Whitmer case, in which Enbridge’s summary judgment motion and the Governor’s motion to dismiss remain pending before Judge Neff.

Enbridge remains focused on building the Great Lakes Tunnel which will make a safe pipeline safer, assure long term energy security and reliability, and support Michigan jobs and the economy. Placing the pipeline in the Great Lakes Tunnel better protects the Great Lakes."

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.
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