The Biden administration has stepped into Enbridge Inc.’s fight over an oil pipeline in Wisconsin, arguing an earlier ruling did not consider the impact on U.S. policy and did not adequately compensate Indigenous landowners.

In June, a U.S. District Court in Wisconsin ordered the Canadian pipeline company to relocate the Line 5 oil pipeline away from the Bad River Reservation within three years or halt its operation and pay the band US$5.15 million for trespassing. 

While the U.S. argued the court was correct that Line 5 was trespassing, it did not consider “trade and diplomatic relationship with and treaty obligations to Canada,” the Department of Justice said in a brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The brief also suggested restitution be reconsidered, given Enbridge “earned well over $1 billion in net profit from Line 5” during the 10 years it used tribal land. 

Enbridge has been enmeshed in multiple court battles over Line 5, a crucial conduit for delivering millions of gallons of oil from Western Canada to refineries in the U.S. Midwest as well as in Ontario and Quebec.

A Line 5 shutdown is “not in the public interest as it would negatively impact businesses, communities and millions of individuals who depend on Line 5 for energy in both the U.S. and Canada,” Enbridge said in a statement.

The battle has soured relations between the U.S. and Canada. In addition to the Wisconsin case, Enbridge is fighting Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s order that Line 5 be shut down because of the threat of a spill where the line crosses the Great Lakes at the Straits of Mackinac. The company has proposed to build a tunnel under the waterway to make the line safer.