Statement by Minister O'Regan Regarding Line 5

12 Mai, 2021, 03:19 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Unifor welcomes Canada's intervention on eve of line 5 closure

Tuesday, Canada's Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan announced the federal government has filed documents in US federal court formally opposing the line's closure.

But Michigan says the one section to the pipeline - Line 5 - is too risky to continue operating. In its case, Enbridge has argued that only the USA federal government can rule on the safety of the pipeline. Even if the governor's order were eventually upheld, Canada could invoke a 1970s-era treaty with the US that prevents either government from blocking petroleum flows, he said.

Ottawa is expected to intervene in the court case this week by filing what is called an amicus brief in the case to support the continuing operation of Line 5.

"A hastily and unduly imposed shutdown would undermine the confidence in reciprocal, enforceable commitments and cross-border co-operation that lies at the heart of the United States-Canada relationship".

According to the Michigan Advance, state officials will need a court order to shut down the pipeline on Wednesday, as Enbridge says it will not comply with Whitmer and Canadian officials have lined up behind the company. But the two sides are in a court-ordered mediation, and Enbridge plans to keep the line running while that plays out - prompting Whitmer to threaten to sue to take any profits it makes.

"It's my belief that the pipeline will continue to operate". "We believe the federal court has jurisdiction".

"These oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac are a ticking time bomb, and their continued presence violates the public trust and poses a grave threat to Michigan's environment and economy", Whitmer's office said in a statement.

"Line 5 is a vital piece of infrastructure for Canada and the United States and has safely operated at the Straits of Mackinac for 68 years".

It also delivers more than half the propane and home heating oil consumed in MI, and is a vital source of energy for OH and Pennsylvania as well, to say nothing of Ontario and Quebec, O'Regan added. "It supports both Canadian and American jobs". "It will be decided in court".

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Line 5 delivers almost half of the oil needs of both Ontario and Quebec, as well as propane for the state of MI.

As a result, Tuesday's White House briefing was dominated by talk of rising gasoline prices, fuel hoarding and the environmental impact of having to use trucks and trains - all likely consequences of a Line 5 shutdown as well.

The standoff is the latest milepost in the increasingly tense dispute over Line 5, a 540,000 barrel-a-day line that supplies half of the oil and propane used by parts of the U.S. Midwest and Ontario.

Canada's brief leans extensively on the close ties between the two countries, noting that they have successfully negotiated a bilateral agreement for protecting the Great Lakes, the original NAFTA and its recent successor, the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed Line 5 with President Joe Biden in meetings in February.

Sonya Savage, Eyre's Alberta counterpart, warned of the potential for a lingering chill if Whitmer is successful. Energy Minister Sonya Savage said Michigan's attempt to shut down an operating pipeline set a unsafe precedent for future oil and gas projects.

Canada's brief, filed in federal court, urged further efforts to reach a settlement. A number of Indigenous groups in Ontario support a shutdown, as does Green party Leader Annamie Paul.

Line 5 under the Straits has never had a leak, although other Enbridge pipelines have, including one in 2010 that sent roughly 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River in west MI. "What we need to do is straighten out what's been happening between the State of MI and Enbridge, which could have dire consequences for Alberta, Ontario and Quebec if the line was shut down at any point in time", said Bradley.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story.

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