Judge Says Panel Had Authority To Complete Oil Pipeline Deal

A judge has ruled that a Michigan panel’s approval of an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac should stay intact even though a state law set unconstitutionally long terms for the authority’s members. Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello issued his ruling Friday. The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority was created by lawmakers in December to complete a deal between the state and Canadian pipeline company Enbridge to drill a tunnel below the channel that links Lakes Huron and Michigan. It will encase a segment of the pipeline. The authority’s members were given six-year terms.

Borrello ruled that legislators violated a constitutional provision that says terms of office on state boards must be no longer than four years. But he says the appointments and the board’s actions were still valid.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.