Wisconsin’s largest business lobbying group is backing energy firm Enbridge in their federal lawsuit against the state of Michigan as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer seeks to shut down the company's Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. The state revoked an easement for the pipeline through its own lawsuit filed last November and ordered Enbridge to shut down the pipeline by Wednesday.

Enbridge has already vowed to defy Michigan’s deadline and continue operating the pipeline unless ordered to shut down by a court or federal regulators, saying Michigan lacks authority over its operations.

On Wednesday, the company highlighted broad support for Line 5 from the Canadian government, labor groups, state attorneys general and business interests in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state's main business group, is among those that filed a friend of the court brief in support of Enbridge. 

"The proposed shutdown of Line 5 at the Straits of Mackinac would have a substantial negative impact to their member businesses, their employees, and residents of Canada and the United States, including those of Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin," the brief states. 

The pipeline carries up to 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids per day from Superior to Sarnia, Ontario. Enbridge argues a shutdown would cause a shortage of propane and fuel throughout the region. 

"This broad support underscores that efforts by the State of Michigan to shut down Line 5 have far-reaching and severe implications across the region and North America — well beyond Michigan’s borders," said Vern Yu, Enbridge’s executive vice president for liquids pipelines, in a statement.

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