Michigan and Enbridge sue over oil pipeline

The governor’s decision is completely justified, according to Daniel Green, former deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada. She orders that Enbridge replace its old pipeline with a safer tunnel to move that oil, fearing that this old pipeline may leak., he explains

If I understand the governor’s position correctly, it is not antipipeline. It is for safe pipelines.

Daniel Green

Built in 1953, Enbridge’s 1,038-kilometer Line 5 is used to transport oil between western and eastern Canada across the Great Lakes. It passes, in particular, under the Straits of Mackinac which connects Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.

Daniel Green does not disapprove of Mrs. Whitmer’s decision.

Photo: Radio-Canada

It is made up of two easements, one which mainly serves American states, and one which reaches as far as Sarnia and which serves to supply Ontario and Quebec.

It is the easement to Sarnia that is in issue. Its passage through the Great Lakes prompted Governor Whitmer to demand its closure. Ms. Whitmer said in a statement feared environmental damage.

State [du Michigan] acts because of Enbridge’s persistent and incurable violations of the terms of operation of the pipeline, can we read in Governor Whitmer’s press release.

Significant environmental risks and repeated violations

For Mr. Green, the waters of the Great Lakes are far too precious. There is no question of taking risks, according to him. Knowing the Straits of Mackinac, it is not very wide, hence the term Strait, on the other hand it is at the confluence of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It is a hot spot that could greatly affect Canadian territorial waters, he specifies.

For the former deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada, who is now co-chair of the Society for Defeating Pollution, it is time for Enbridge to invest in safe equipment.

Enbridge, on an ongoing basis, replaces old ends of pipeline. And yes, it’s going to be expensive, and yes there may be an interruption in the flow of oil. However, this interruption can be limited in time if Enbridge starts now to build a safe and modern tunnel pipeline for crossing the Straits of Mackinac. he adds.

Energy difficulties in anticipation for Ontario and Quebec

An opinion that Marylin Gladu, Conservative MP for Sarnia-Lambton does not share.

For Ms. Gladu, Governor Whitmer chose to create a problem where there was none. There are no problems with the line. There are a lot of studies, environmental reports that indicate that there are no problems, she explains.

Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu

Marilyn Gladu fears for jobs in the Sarnia-Lambton area.

Photo: The Canadian Press

She added that Enbridge planned to do work to make the pipeline safer and that the governor’s actions only endanger jobs.

<q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"Il y a 50000 jobs affected as well as home heating in Ontario and Quebec. […] This is serious business for Sarnia-Lambton, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania “,” text “:” There are 50,000 jobs being affected as well as home heating in Ontario and Quebec. […] It’s serious business for Sarnia-Lambton, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania “}}” lang = “en”>There are 50,000 jobs affected as well as home heating in Ontario and Quebec. […] It’s serious for businesses in Sarnia-Lambton, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, PA, she specifies.

Beyond the question of jobs, what is also a question here, according to Ms. Gladu, is the energy security of Ontario and Quebec. In Sarnia the refineries and farms [en dépendent]. All the oil from Detroit and Pearson airports comes from line 5. […] In Quebec, many people heat their homes with propane. This propane comes from Sarnia, she adds.

Ms. Gladu does not understand the decision of the governor of Michigan all the more as jobs are also threatened in her state.

Refusal to comply

Anyway, Enbridge has already indicated in a press release that it did not intend to comply. Vern Yu, one of Enbridge’s vice-presidents, affirms the company’s willingness to both override the governor’s decision and challenge it in court.

We intend to continue operating Line 5 until the commissioning of a replacement pipeline, under the Strait, in the Great Lakes Tunnel, in accordance with the existing agreement with the State of Michigan, can we read in the press release.

Gretchen Whitmer, sidelined, looking at people she's talking to, in front of an American flag

Gretchen Whitmer wants to put an end to the operation of line 5.

Photo: Associated Press / Office of the Governor of Michigan

The Michigan governor’s attempt to revoke Line 5 easement is illegal and ignores science and evidence.

Enbridge press release

Ms. Whitmer says she wants to protect the Great Lakes, which are vital for millions of people. Here in Michigan, the Great Lakes are our borders, but they also define us. Enbridge has consistently refused to take action to protect the Great Lakes and the millions of Americans who depend on it for clean water and good jobs, she explains.

The risk, according to the governor, would be too great to witness oil spills in the Great Lakes. A situation which, if it were to occur, she said, would devastate the economy and the way of life of Michiganians.

The governor gives Canadian society until May 2021 to decommission the disputed sling.

Impossible consensus

One thing is certain, the positions of the camps engaged in the battle around this oil pipeline seem irreconcilable.

Daniel Green and Marylin Gladu barely agree on the ability of pipelines to transport oil or gas in a completely safe manner.

For Ms. Gladu, closing the pipeline would be like opting for oil truck transport. A solution that she finds even more dangerous. There are a lot of pipelines in lakes, in rivers all over the world. It’s a technology without too many risks, she explains.

Green believes that the complete reliability of pipelines is far from being proven. tearing shirt of Mr. Kenney who finds it an infringement of Canada’s right to export its oil “,” text “:” There is no consensus on the movement of oil by pipeline. We see it following President Biden’s decision to put an end to Keystone XL and the tearing of Mr. Kenney’s shirt, who finds that it is a violation of Canada’s right to export its oil “}}” lang = “fr”>There is no consensus on the movement of oil by pipeline. It is seen following President Biden’s decision to end the Keystone XL and the tearing shirt of Mr. Kenney who finds it an infringement of Canada’s right to export its oil, he explains.

However, he is not against building a new, safer pipeline. It is important that the owner of the pipeline make preventive repairs. An old pipeline, especially an old submarine pipeline, if there is a risk, should be replaced, he says.

Legal battle in perspective

Enbridge considers the Michigan decision to be both illegal and unjustified. Our examination of the situation shows that the State [du Michigan] does not have the power to terminate or revoke the 1953 easement, indicates the company.

Line 5 allows the safe transportation of fuel to heat homes and supplies power to Michigan, neighboring states as well as Canada’s two largest provinces.


And Enbridge to add: The opinion [envoyé par la gouverneure à Enbridge] does not mention any existing violation of the operating conditions of the easement which would justify its decommissioning.

The company also indicates that the two easements were reviewed and approved in June and September 2020 by the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the authority responsible, in particular, for ensuring the safe operation of oil pipelines.

A political affair

The Enbridge-Michigan affair has grown to considerable proportions since President Biden’s decision to cancel construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

A decision by the American president who made Jean-Thomas Bernard, visiting professor at the economics department of the University of Ottawa, say that the question is now more political than environmental, since, according to him, studies relating to reliability of pipelines are carried out regularly.

Jean-Thomas Bernard, professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Ottawa.

Jean-Thomas Bernard thinks that the debate around line 5 is becoming more and more political.

Photo: Radio-Canada

There are hundreds of waterways that are crossed by gas pipelines and pipelines across the United States and Canada. In general, there is an environmental assessment […]. So there is an independent assessment, but ultimately it’s the politicians who make the final decisions, he explains.

Mr. Green is not against the idea of ​​political intervention in the matter. However, he would like this to be done independently through recourse to the international joint commission, which is used to managing issues relating to the boundary waters between Canada and the United States.

Under the Boundary Waters Treaty between Canada and the United States of 1909, the Strait of Mackinac is part of the boundary waters. My suggestion is to ask the Federal Minister of the Environment of Canada to contact the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency […] and agree to make a reference to the joint commission, he says.

Daniel Green adds that appealing to the joint commission would allow the latter to hold public hearings and advise the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada on a resolution of the dispute.

Ms. Gladu calls for the intervention of Justin Trudeau. Hope the Prime Minister can speak with Joe Biden because it is a federal law that governs Line 5, she concludes.

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