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Judge upholds law allowing Great Lakes oil-pipeline tunnel

FILE - In this June 8, 2017, file photo, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace, Michigan. Judge Michael Kelly of the Michigan Court of Claims has handed a victory to a company seeking to build a tunnel that would house a Great Lakes oil pipeline. Kelly ruled Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019 the state Legislature did not violate the Michigan Constitution by voting last year to approve a deal between former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Enbridge Inc. (Dale G Young/Detroit News via AP, File)

Nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace, Michigan, recently. Judge Michael Kelly of the Michigan Court of Claims has handed a victory to a company seeking to build a tunnel that would house a Great Lakes oil pipeline. Kelly ruled Thursday the state Legislature did not violate the Michigan Constitution by voting last year to approve a deal between former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Enbridge Inc. (Dale G Young/Detroit News via AP, File)

By JOHN FLESHER
AP Environmental Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan judge has handed a victory to a company seeking to build a tunnel that would house a Great Lakes oil pipeline.

Judge Michael Kelly of the Michigan Court of Claims ruled Thursday that the state Legislature did not violate the Michigan Constitution last year by approving a deal between former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Enbridge Inc.

The agreement calls for shutting down Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, a channel linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. A replacement pipeline would run through a tunnel to be built beneath the lake bottom.

Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel contends the 2018 law authorizing the deal was unconstitutional because it went beyond the extent of work implied by the project’s title.

Kelly disagreed, saying the title adequately reflected the law’s intentions.

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