Canada warns Michigan oil line shutdown could undermine U.S. ties

Canada warns Michigan oil line shutdown could undermine U.S. ties

Michigan is reviewing what it could do if Enbridge keeps operating past the deadline, said a spokeswoman for the Michigan Attorney General.

"We are looking at all our options and we will leave no stone unturned in defending Canada's energy security", Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan told an emergency parliamentary debate on the pipeline last Thursday. While the Keystone decision was disappointing, the continued operation of Line 5 is "nonnegotiable", O'Regan said in an interview last month.

The Consumer Energy Alliance, a business coalition, said a shutdown would imperil 33,000 jobs and cause at least $20.8 billion in economic losses in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

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

The Canadian government has been lobbying officials in Washington to keep the pipeline open in what is likely to be an election year in Canada, but the White House has so far not weighed in on the matter.

Meanwhile, Natural Resources Secretary Seamus Origin Jr. filed a memo to the USA federal court on Tuesday to support the ongoing mediation between Inbridge and the state of MI, among other things.

"The Governor of MI is recklessly messing with a critical piece of infrastructure that puts thousands of jobs at risk", said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. Even if the governor's order were eventually upheld, Canada could invoke a 1970s-era treaty with the USA that prevents either government from blocking petroleum flows, he said.

Enbridge says the line under the straits has never experienced a leak, with pipes three times thicker than typical oil lines, adding it monitors the line 24 hours a day with computers, and has regular inline, diver, and ROV inspections.

"Line 5 is a critical energy and economic link between Canada and the United States, and coveys Canada's belief that the us federal court is the proper jurisdiction to hear the case between MI and Enbridge", said the federal government's news release. The Government of Canada has continuously advocated for and raised the importance of Line 5.

Quoted by BNNBloomberg, Sarnia's Mayor Mike Bradley said, "If the pipeline was to be shut on May 12, that would mean thousands of railcars and trucks and barges carrying that oil and propane from Western Canada".

"We don't wade in on that", Granholm said.

"This case raises concerns regarding the efficacy of the historic framework upon which the U.S".

Like most issues, many complexities shade the Line 5 debate. It's also a critical source of petroleum for the Line 9 pipeline that runs to Quebec and provides 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the crude oil that is used by Quebec refineries to make gasoline and other fuels. "A shutdown of Line 5 would have significant consequences across Canada, as well as the United States", said Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage in a statement. But so far Ottawa has held off doing so.

"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".

Separately, a cyberattack that shut down Colonial Pipeline, one of the United States' major fuel supply networks, on Friday has stoked fears over the security of energy supply. Recently, Michigan has argued that the case should be heard by a state court, which could give it a more favourable judgement.

The latest moves come as a new report is released about the line's economic impact in the US.

The Colonial Pipeline delivers almost half of the diesel and gasoline consumed on the U.S. East Coast.

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