Enbridge says Great Lakes oil pipeline will keep running

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 13, 2021

The United States is obliged to give a 10-year notice to Canada of closure of the pipeline, which brings 540,000 barrels-per-day of oil into Canada.

Gretchen Whitmer previously ordered Line 5 to shutter on Wednesday, but Enbridge maintains it will keep fighting that directive. The state won't enforce shutdown of pipeline without a decision by a state court, Lynsey Mukomel, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Attorney General, said by email. "Canada relationship has been successfully managed for generations", Ottawa said.

Michigan's move "threatens to undermine important aspects of that cooperative worldwide relationship", it added.

The brief said Canada would suffer "massive and potentially permanent disruption" from a shutdown. The pipeline helps deliver almost half of the supply of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil and natural gas liquids in Ontario and Quebec.

"We don't weigh in on that ... it will be decided in court", U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm told reporters on Tuesday when asked about the White House's position on Line 5. Energy Minister Sonya Savage said Michigan's attempt to shut down an operating pipeline set a risky precedent for future oil and gas projects.

Line 5 goes through the Straits of Mackinac, which separate Lakes Michigan and Huron.

O'Regan Jr. wrote in a statement responding to the Canadian Government's filing of an amicus brief that "Under the federal court's order, Enbridge and MI have entered into a mediation process and are meeting regularly".

If the continued operation of Line 5 isn't upheld through the court process, Bradley says he'll call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appeal to U.S. President Joe Biden directly.

"The State intends to assert claims for trespass and unjust enrichment against Enbridge at the appropriate time", Whitmer wrote, adding MI was confident it would win the ongoing legal battle.

"We've talked about in here how important of a partner Canada is", Psaki said, "and will continue to be on a range of issues from addressing the pandemic to just being a regional partner on facing issues around the globe, but this again is a situation thats in the courts so I'm not going to have more comments on it". The almost seven-decade-old pipeline carries petroleum from Western Canada through Wisconsin and MI, and ends at refineries in Sarnia, Ont. "It's a catastrophe here because of the jobs that would be impacted, but it ripples", said Bradley.

An Enbridge spokesperson confirmed operations Wednesday have not been impacted.

There has been support for Whitmer's efforts on this side of the border, including from environmental groups and Indigenous leaders.

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