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US judge rules against Enbridge on line 5 but stops short of shutdown – National

A Wisconsin judge has ruled in favor of an Indigenous band in his dispute with Enbridge over Line 5, but has not shut down the controversial cross-border pipeline.

District Court Judge William Conley said the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa proved it had the authority to revoke authorization for the pipeline to traverse its territory in 2013.

Conley also says the band, who want the line removed from the Bad River reservation, are entitled to financial compensation — although the decision doesn’t go into detail on that front.

However, the judge denied the gang’s request to shut down the pipeline, citing the potentially serious foreign policy and trade ramifications for both Canada and the United States.

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He acknowledges Secretary of State Melanie Joly’s decision late last month to formally invoke a 1977 treaty between the two countries that specifically covers cross-border pipelines.

Conley’s order, issued late Wednesday, also requires Enbridge to move the pipeline around the Bad River area within five years, an effort the company says is already underway.

“The court will grant the band’s motion with respect to their trespassing and unjust enrichment claims, Enbridge’s counterclaims and the band’s right to monetary relief,” he writes.

“Nevertheless, the court must deny the band’s request for an automatic injunction because an immediate shutdown of the pipeline would have significant public and foreign policy implications.”


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Environmental concerns are paramount in Wisconsin, where the pipeline passes directly through the Bad River Reservation, more than 500 square kilometers of pristine wetlands, creeks and wilderness.

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The band has been in court with Enbridge for more than three years, arguing that the Calgary-based company is trespassing because it violated the terms of the easements that allowed the pipeline to traverse the reservation beginning in 1953.

Enbridge, which is currently attempting to reroute the pipeline around the reservation, argued that a 1992 agreement with the Bad River Band allowed the pipeline to remain operational until 2043.

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However, Conley concluded that the band had their right to choose not to renew the easements in 2013 and that the 1992 agreement, by itself, was no guarantee that the pipeline would be allowed to continue operating.

“The agreed purpose was not, as Enbridge now claims, to allow it to operate across the reservation for 50 years,” the judge writes.

“Moreover, Enbridge was aware of the risk that his 20-year easements…may not be renewed, and yet has failed to protect against that risk.”

Line 5 has been under legal siege in both Wisconsin and neighboring Michigan for the past three years, and with opponents pleading for a shutdown in both cases, the ruling Wednesday will likely be counted as a win.

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Business groups and chambers of commerce on both sides of the border, provincial governments and Ottawa have rallied behind Enbridge in his efforts to portray Line 5’s survival as a mission-critical issue of the continent’s energy security.


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Allies have argued in both court filings and public forums that Line 5 is a vital source of energy for several Midwestern states and an essential link for Canadian refineries, which fuel some of Canada’s busiest airports.

Late last month, the company won a crucial battle in the lawsuit in Michigan, where a federal judge rejected Attorney General Dana Nessel’s efforts to bring the case back to district court, where the state has a better chance of success.

Nessel has since indicated that she plans to appeal the decision.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

https://globalnews.ca/news/9113956/enbridge-line-5-judge-ruling/ US judge rules against Enbridge on line 5 but stops short of shutdown – National



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