DETROIT (Legal Newsline) – Two environment nonprofit groups are seeking relief regarding the Coast Guard and a pipeline in Michigan.
Environmental Law & Policy Center and National Wildlife Federation filed a complaint on Aug. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against United States Coast Guard and Rear Admiral Joanna M. Nunan seeking declaratory relief under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the Administrative Procedure Act.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs state they and their members' interests are directly harmed by the risk of an oil spill or other discharge in the Great Lakes that cannot be adequately cleaned up, removed or remediated. The suit states that two crude oil pipelines known as Line 5 are owned by Enbridge Energy Partners and run under the Straits of Mackinac. The plaintiffs allege these pipelines are 65 years old.
The suit states that the Coast Guard approved an Area Contingency Plan (ACP) for northern Michigan, which includes the Straits of Mackinac, and that Enbridge cannot operate the pipelines unless it has a Facility Response Plan (FRP) in place that is consistent with the ACP. The suit states the ACP is not adequate.
The plaintiffs seek a declaration that the ACP and FRP are not in accordance to law. They allege the Coast Guard, "by its own sworn testimony," is not prepared to respond to a worst-case discharge from the pipeline.
The plaintiffs request seek a declaration that an FRP for an oil pipeline facility operating in the Great Lakes violates the Oil Pollution Act and Administrative Procedure Act, costs of litigation and any other relief. They are represented by Howard A. Learner and Andrene Dabaghi of Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago; and Margrethe Kearney of the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan case number 1:18-cv-12626-TLL-PTM