A Michigan court is ordering Canadian energy firm Enbridge to temporarily shut down operation of its Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.
The 67-year-old pipeline carries up to 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids from Superior to Sarnia, Ontario. It splits into two 20-inch pipelines for roughly four miles under the straits connecting Lakes Michigan and Huron.
The dual pipelines were shut down one week ago after the company discovered an anchor support had shifted position, but Enbridge resumed operation of the west leg of Line 5 on Saturday afternoon after it said damage was isolated to the east segment of the pipeline.
On Monday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a motion in Ingham County Circuit Court for a temporary restraining order requiring Enbridge to cease all operation of Line 5 and provide information on the damage. In a six-page ruling Thursday, Judge James S. Jamo granted Nessel's request.
The judge ruled Enbridge failed to provide sufficient documentation about the safety of resuming operations on the west leg of the pipeline, as well as the nature and cause of the damage to Line 5.
Enbridge has argued that it can safely operate the west segment of Line 5.
If the company is wrong, Jamo wrote that the risk "is so substantial and irreparable, and endangers so many communities and livelihoods and the natural resources of Michigan, the danger far exceeds the risk of financial loss" to the company.
Enbridge must temporarily shut down Line 5 in the Straits within 24 hours of receiving the court's order. The company may not resume operation until at least Tuesday, when a hearing is scheduled to take up the matter.
Michigan's attorney general said in a statement that it's grateful for the court's decision.