FLOW applauds decision sending Nessel v. Enbridge Line 5 case back to state court

FLOW (For Love of Water) applauds the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision yesterday sending Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s legal action against Enbridge’s Line 5 back to state court where it started. In 2019, AG Nessel sought a court order to shut down Enbridge’s failing Line 5 crude oil and natural gas pipeline. In 2020, Governor Whitmer revoked Enbridge’s easement. As a result, Line 5 now illegally occupies the Lake Michigan lakebed at the Straits of Mackinac, and presents a clear and present danger of a catastrophic spill into the Great Lakes.

Now the Sixth Circuit has held that Enbridge’s removal of AG Nessel’s lawsuit to federal court, more than two years after it was filed, was untimely and unjustified. Enbridge’s attempt to take the lawsuit to federal court came well after the deadline for removal, and the Sixth Circuit ruled that the delay could not be justified on any of the grounds cited by Enbridge or the lower court. Enbridge’s delay tactic of removal is typical of fossil fuel companies being held to account by state authorities, and it failed here.

FLOW has vigorously supported AG Nessel throughout this procedural odyssey, including submitting an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief to the Sixth Circuit. FLOW is confident that at a trial on the merits, the AG will demonstrate the monstrous and unacceptable threat the 70-year-old Line 5 poses to the precious clean water resources of the Great Lakes, and achieve the shutdown remedy she and Governor Whitmer have so vigilantly pursued. FLOW and its many supporters and allies remain committed to this goal, and we are grateful for the leadership of AG Nessel and Gov. Whitmer in this fight.


FLOW is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves as a Great Lakes water law and policy center dedicated to ensuring the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are healthy, public, and protected for all. The enduring idea of the commons and legal principles of the public trust offer unifying adaptive solutions to address basin-wide threats. FLOW’s staff of legal and policy experts, journalists, and community-builders makes FLOW an authoritative resource for Great Lakes advocates. FLOW builds a knowledge base for communities, state agencies, and legislators to inform policy and advocacy for water issues.

Recent Line 5 News

2 comments on “FLOW applauds decision sending Nessel v. Enbridge Line 5 case back to state court

  1. Kimberly Pontius on

    Thank you AG Nessel and FLOW for your tenacity on this issue. The current pipeline and the proposed tunnel represent bad ideas that time will prove were and are flawed in the most egregious way. Keep up the good work.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *