Attorney General Dana Nessel opined today that the law that established the Line 5 tunnel passed in late 2018 was ultimately unconstitutional and any advancements of a tunnel to house Line 5 should stop immediately. In response, Governor Whitmer instructed each state department using resources towards a tunnel through the Straits of Mackinac to halt any further actions.
During the hectic lame duck session in 2018, authorization of a tunnel for energy lines under the Straits of Mackinac was approved. As Enbridge’s Line 5 sits at the bottom of the Straits and continues to operate beyond its life expectancy, the company, in partnership with the state of Michigan, has decided to build a tunnel under 100 feet of bedrock beneath the straits to protect the environment. Shortly after the authority was created, Governor Snyder appointed MITA Executive Vice President Mike Nystrom Chairman of the new authority.
The news of the opinion by the AG was disappointing, as much progress has been made on the tunnel. The authority has already entered into an agreement with Enbridge for the construction of the tunnel and environmental work is already being done for the feasibility of the tunnel itself. Halting the progress of the construction itself is only delaying the safer, more reliable housing of the energy lines that will go through the tunnel.
Undoubtedly, this will now go to the courts and likely end up in the Michigan Supreme Court for final ruling. If the courts rule in favor of the AG and determine that the law is unconstitutional, future legislation would need to pass to establish another authority to build a tunnel in the straits. It is unknown how Governor Whitmer would react to legislation placed on her desk to approve a new authority but we will push for this extremely important project to continue to move forward.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Mike Nystrom, Executive Vice President, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lance Binoniemi, Vice President of Government Affairs, at email@example.com. They both can be reached at 517-347-8336.