Unifor welcomes Canada's intervention on eve of line 5 closure

Unifor welcomes Canada's intervention on eve of line 5 closure

We are extremely concerned that Governor Whitmer, by her arbitrary shutdown order, is jeopardizing Enbridge's private investment and obligation to build the Great Lakes Tunnel.

Line 5, which was built in 1953, delivers oil from Western Canada to refineries in Sarnia, Ont., running across Wisconsin and MI.

On Tuesday, the House Transportation Committee took testimony on the pipeline and the economic and environmental consequences that could result from shutting it down.

The motions come as gas prices in the Windsor-Essex area are rising due to an issue with the Colonial Pipeline in the eastern United States.

The pipeline is 67 years old and a 2017 report by the National Wildlife Federation showed Line 5 had spilled 1.1-million gallons of oil in 29 incidents since 1968.

"It's not just Sarnia".

"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.

"I don't see a court jumping the gun and ordering it closed ... until the litigation and constitutional issues are resolved", he said by phone.

On Nov. 13, 2020, Whitmer and state Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger notified Enbridge that its 1953 easement allowing it to operate the dual pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac had been terminated.

There has been support for Whitmer's efforts on this side of the border, including from environmental groups and Indigenous leaders.

"We will not stop operating the pipeline unless we are ordered by a court or our regulator, which we view as highly unlikely", Enbridge spokeswoman Tracie Kenyon said in a statement this week.

The Colonial crisis again prompted public officials Wednesday to confront the mission-critical reality of America's pipelines as they urged people to stay calm and to resist the temptation to hoard fuel.

The initiative comes at the last minute, as Line 5 could be blocked as early as tomorrow, May 12, the deadline that Mr. Whitmire gave Enbridge to shut down the pipeline.

When questioned on whether President Joe Biden has been in contact with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the potential closing of Line 5 in Michigan, Press Secretary Jen Psaki replied "it's in the courts".

The state sued to enforce the order, which is pending as a federal judge considers whether to retain jurisdiction or send the case to a MI court.

"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.

Letters have also been sent by industry groups, the attorneys general of OH and Louisiana, and unions.

"Line 5 not only safely provides oil and natural gas to MI, it also provides jobs to residents across the state".

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