6th Circuit Says Enbridge Line 5 Can Run Through National Forest

Jul 1, 2016

Oil and gas pipeline
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

A federal appeals court says an Enbridge oil pipeline that runs through a northern Michigan national forest does not need a new permit to continue operating.


The Sierra Club says Enbridge’s Line 5 permit effectively expired and needed a new one.  The Sierra Club’s David Holtz says that warranted a new environmental risk assessment by the US Forest Service.  

“So their permit was up and that’s basically what our argument is, that they should have done that.” 

The appeals court says there was nothing that requires a new look at the environmental risks of the pipeline to the Huron-Manistee National Forest in northern Michigan, or to endangered species such as the Kirtland’s Warbler.

Line 5 also runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac.  The arguments over the environmental risks of the underwater portion of the pipeline were not part of this case. 

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org