Statement by Minister O'Regan Regarding Line 5 Français

Canada asks U.S. court to prevent Michigan from shutting down Line 5 pipeline

Canada asks U.S. court to prevent Michigan from shutting down Line 5 pipeline

The document "coveys Canada's belief that the US federal court is the proper jurisdiction to hear the case between MI and Enbridge", Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan said in an emailed statement. Whitmer, who faces a potentially hard re-election fight next year, is trying to shut the Enbridge line years before a replacement can be built.

That shutdown order is set for May 12 with MI governor Gretchen Whitmer saying the potential for a spill in the environmentally sensitive straits could endanger some 350,000 jobs in the state and that protection of the Great Lakes is paramount.

Whitmer, backed by environmentalists and native tribes, says the segment is vulnerable to a catastrophic spill in the cold, swirling channel. However, Whitmer's election in 2019 stopped the project when she withdrew the easement agreement under the straits in November with the shutdown date of May 12 this year.

Canadian company Enbridge Inc is preparing for a legal battle with MI and courting protests from environmental groups, betting it can ignore the state's Wednesday deadline to shut down Line 5, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge argues that the state has no authority to order the shutdown because the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration oversees interstate pipelines.

Enbridge has challenged Ms. Whitmer's order in court and defied the governor, saying it will not shut down the pipeline on May 12 unless ordered to do so by a judge.

John Flesher/AP An aboveground section of Enbridge's Line 5 at the Mackinaw City, Michigan, pump station.

Enbridge and MI have been in court-ordered mediation since April. What's more, the case is already before a federal court; any decision supporting the governor's move would would be appealed in a process that would take years.

"Their continued presence violates the public trust and poses a grave threat to Michigan's environment and economy", Whitmer said in a statement this week.

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"At this time, no court has ordered Line 5 shut down, and in the absence of a court order Line 5 will continue to operate".

Canada's brief, filed in federal court, urged further efforts to reach a settlement.

"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. This pipeline is as important to Canada as it is to the U.S. It heats both Canadian and American homes.

The company's refusal to comply with the order, and swift support from top Canadian officials, highlights the politicized nature of pipelines, which campaigners have used as a target in the fight against climate change.

Advocacy groups stepped up the pressure. Among them were members of a union representing workers at a refinery in Toledo, Ohio.

"It is understandable that the people of MI are extremely sensitive to the unsafe consequences of a potential spill from Line 5, and chose to elect a governor who explicitly campaigned on the promise to shut down the line". "So our refinery would likely shut down".

"He said the report estimates "$20.8 billion of loss in economic activity, $2.36 billion of loss labor earnings, whether that's wages or salaries for people employed in these states, and over 33,000 jobs lost".

"Our Great Lakes are more important than Canadian fossil fuel profit using the Straits of Mackinac as a shortcut", said MI group Clean Water Action.

"The decrepit, deteriorating and risky Line 5 pipeline is an ecological and public health tragedy waiting to happen in the world's largest freshwater lakes", said Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

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