(Bloomberg) -- Enbridge Inc. plans to appeal a court order to shut down its Line 5 oil pipeline on the Bad River Reservation within three years, the company said in an email.
A US District Court in Wisconsin on Friday ordered the company to stop operating the oil pipeline running from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, within three years and pay the band $5.15 million. Enbridge already planned to move the line off the reservation, but said it disagreed with aspects of the court’s decision, including that the company is trespassing and that Line 5 must cease operations.
“Enbridge is weighing all its options, including requesting a stay of the judge’s decision while an appeal is heard,” Gina Sutherland, an Enbridge spokeswoman, said in an email. The three-year time line is arbitrary, but is “achievable, provided government permitting agencies follow reasonable and timely processes.”
Any judgment on Enbridge’s potential appeal likely “will ultimately accommodate the regulatory process to relocate the line in the new timeline given the courts have been reluctant to shut the line due to downstream impacts and international relations,” Robert Catellier, an analyst at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, said in a note to clients.
The company has been enmeshed in multiple court battles over Line 5, a crucial conduit for delivering oil from Western Canada to refineries in the US Midwest as well as in Ontario and Quebec. Besides the case in Wisconsin, the company 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.
The fight over Line 5 has escalated into a dispute between Canada and the US, with Canada invoking a 1970s-era treaty to protect the pipeline’s operation.
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