Ottawa Supports Canadian-Owned Pipeline Earmarked for Closure by MI
Nov 16 2020
The pipeline brings oils from Western Canada.
"Here in MI, the Great Lakes define our borders, but they also define who we are as people", Whitmer said in a statement, adding, "Most importantly, Enbridge has imposed on the people of MI an unacceptable risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes that could devastate our economy and way of life".
The Democratic governor's legal counsel said in a letter to Enbridge, based in Calgary, that the revocation resulted from "a violation of the public trust doctrine" and "a longstanding, persistent pattern of noncompliance with easement conditions and the standard of due care". "They have repeatedly violated the terms of the 1953 easement by ignoring structural problems that put our Great Lakes and our families at risk".
A shutdown of Line 5 would likely lead to higher gasoline prices in southern Ontario and several U.S. Midwest states, analysts said.
In the related suit filed Friday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is also asking for a permanent injunction requiring Enbridge to cease operating Line 5 within 180 days and "permanently decommission the Straits Pipelines in accordance with applicable law and plans approved by the State of Michigan".
"Most importantly, Enbridge has imposed on the people of MI an unacceptable risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes that could devastate our economy and way of life".
Another Enbridge pipeline spilled 3.2 million liters of oil in the Kalamazoo River in southern MI in 2010. "That's why we're taking action now, and why I will continue to hold accountable anyone who threatens our Great Lakes and fresh water".
Line 5 is part of Enbridge's Lakehead network, which carries oil from western Canada to refineries in the USA and Ontario.
The shares erased earlier gains following news of the latest legal action and were down 0.8% at C$37.69 at 1:47 p.m.in Toronto.
Line 5 transports up to 540,000 barrels per day of light crude oil, light synthetic crude, and natural gas liquids, which are refined into propane, according to Enbridge.
"It's kind of political suicide", Skolnick said of the motion to cancel the easement, noting that Whitmer has tried as recently as June to halt shipments of oil on the pipeline after one of the anchors at the bottom of the Straits shifted.
A statement from the Governor's office noted that this does not prevent Enbridge from continuing to pursue permits to construct a tunnel under the Straits to house a replacement Line 5 segment.
"Today's move would kill jobs and increase fuel costs", said Geno Alessandrini of the Michigan Laborers Union, which joined industry groups in criticizing Whitmer's decision.
Enbridge said in a statement it is now reviewing the legal notice, adding that there is no credible basis for terminating the easement.
State Rep. Triston Cole, of Mancelona, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's recent demand to shut down Line 5 by May 2021.