Canada warns Michigan oil line shutdown could undermine U.S. ties
May 13 2021
The government of Alberta, Canada's main crude-producing province, welcomed the federal government's intervention.
Up to 800 tanker rail cars and 2,000 trucks per day would be needed to transport 540,000 barrels of oil and liquefied natural gas, now supplied by Line 5, since the demand for energy would still be there even if the pipeline wasn't. As her May 12 deadline arrived, Canadian pipeline company Enbridge said only the federal government has regulatory authority over its operations.
"One of the things that I think puts this into perspective is what's going on in the United States, as we speak about the Colonial Pipeline that's been shutdown because of ransomware for the last few days and gas stations are running out of gas", Jacobson said in a broadcast interview Wednesday.
"Regardless of the motivation, shutting down a second regional, multi-state and global pipeline is virtually certain to have the same economic impact, which is negative: higher prices, lost jobs and a disruption of the daily lives of both individuals and employees and employers". 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.
A roughly 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) segment divides into two pipes that cross the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
"Line 5 is operating safely, reliably and is in compliance with the law". The state in 1953 granted an easement to place the pipes on the straits bottom.
"And we remain committed to providing the people of MI and the Great Lakes region with safe, reliable and affordable energy".
Another Enbridge pipeline caused a massive spill into the Kalamazoo River in 2010.
"Our action will be through the courts", she said.
Today Canada filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of MI to support continued mediation between Enbridge and the State of MI.
"Energy security, economic prosperity, and supporting energy workers are top priorities for the Government of Canada", said the Honourable Seamus O'Regan.
It's unlikely that anything is going to be decided until a judge in either state or USA federal court makes a decision, a process that could take several months, said James Coleman, a pipeline law expert and associate professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Also at play is the question of whether Canada will invoke a 1977 treaty with the U.S, in which both countries agreed not to interfere with global pipelines like Line 5 without justification.
Enbridge, he said, has gone to great lengths to assuage the state's concerns, including with the tunnel, promises of round-the-clock monitoring, an emergency buoy system and keeping response teams on standby - "only to be demonized for political purposes". "And there's been times when people thought that they had an airtight case under the treaty, that the courts have found a way to wiggle out of".