National Wildlife Federation sues feds over pipeline

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

The National Wildlife Federation on Thursday sued the the U.S. Department of Transportation, its secretary and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration over its spill response plan for an oil pipeline that runs through Michigan.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, alleges the plan violates the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. It carries on clashes the environmental group has had with the government in connection with oil pipelines.

“The purpose of this lawsuit is to ensure that the communities and wildlife dependent on the Great Lakes get all the protection against a catastrophic oil spill that the law requires,” said Mike Shriberg, Regional Executive Director of the NWF Great Lakes Regional Center.

The pipeline known as Line 5, the lawsuit states, runs from Superior, Wis., through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, across the Straits of Mackinac, into the Lower Peninsula across the St. Clair River and then into Sarnia, Ontario.

The NWF had been issuing warnings last year that it intended to sue over the pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy Inc.

The environmental group has also clashed with the government about its $177 million settlement proposal with Enbridge Energy over the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill and that it didn’t do enough to prevent future environmental disasters.

An attorney for the NWF and the Department of Transportation could not be reached for comment.

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