Tribes push Michigan court to overturn oil pipeline permit

By Carlos Anchondo | 04/15/2024 07:05 AM EDT

The move is the latest in a long battle over Enbridge’s plan to replace part of the Line 5 pipeline that runs under the waterway linking lakes Michigan and Huron.

A screenshot from an animation video depicting the Great Lakes Tunnel Project.

A screenshot from an animation video depicting the Great Lakes Tunnel Project, to be built by Enbridge in Michigan's Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge

Four Great Lakes tribes are urging a Michigan court to overturn a state permit that allows Enbridge to build a pipeline tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac.

In a brief filed last week in the Michigan Court of Appeals, the tribes assert that state regulators blocked the submission of key evidence on the future spill risk of the Line 5 oil pipeline.

They ask the court to reverse the Michigan Public Service Commission’s (MPSC) December decision, which granted Enbridge’s request to replace two existing pipeline segments with a larger pipeline housed in a concrete tunnel under the waterway that divides lakes Michigan and Huron. Under the order, Enbridge must first obtain the “required governmental permits and approvals,” including from the Army Corps of Engineers, and submit a risk management plan to the state.


The filing comes nearly four months after the tribes announced their plans to appeal the commission’s decision. Earthjustice and the Native American Rights Fund filed the brief on behalf of four tribal nations: the Bay Mills Indian Community, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi.