Michigan court orders Enbridge to temporarily shut down Line 5 pipeline

FILE PHOTO: The Enbridge Tower is pictured on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber/File Photo

(Reuters) - Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge Inc has to halt Line 5 operations and disclose information related to the recent damage caused to a part of the oil pipeline, a Michigan circuit court judge ordered on Thursday.

The company has been asked to keep the damaged east leg of the pipeline shut and close the currently operating west leg within 24 hours of receipt of the court's order here.

Both legs would remain closed pending the outcome of a hearing to be held next Tuesday, according to the order.

Enbridge, disappointed with the ruling, said “an extended shutdown of Line 5 would threaten fuel supplies in Michigan and Ohio resulting in critical gasoline supply shortages and price increases for consumers in Michigan and the surrounding region.”

The company said it will provide the court with the information it has requested related to the assessment on the current situation with Line 5, including restart planning for the west leg.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday's ruling, while significant, was only a short-term fix and "if the lines are put back into operation, one mismanaged incident or accident would result in a historic catastrophe for our state."

Nessel has been attempting through the courts to permanently shut down the portion of the 67-year-old Line 5 that passes across the Straits’ lakebed, fearing any leak would pollute the Great Lakes.

The line, a part of the vast North American Mainline network, travels through the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Enbridge shut down Line 5 last Thursday after the damage to the east leg, but resumed operations at the west leg after two days.

Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli