WASHINGTON—A U.S. judge has ordered Enbridge Inc. to pay an indigenous band in Wisconsin US$5.1 million and to remove the Line 5 pipeline from its property within three years.
The decision late Friday by district court Judge William Conley stops short of immediately shutting down the controversial cross-border oil and gas line.
Conley says a rupture of Line 5 on territory that belongs to the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa would clearly constitute a public nuisance under federal law.
And he affirms that Enbridge has been trespassing on Bad River land since 2013 when certain permits for the 70-year-old pipeline were allowed to lapse.
Enbridge has already agreed to relocate the line, an essential energy conduit for much of the U.S. Midwest as well as Ontario and Quebec.
But a spokesperson says the company will appeal Conley's three-year timeline, calling it a "legally flawed" decision that would still require the very shutdown the judge wants to avoid.