Michigan Attempts To Close Oil And Gas Pipeline From Canada

Michigan is in a standoff with Canada as the state is trying to shut down an aging oil and gas pipeline over environmental concerns.

The Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, which connects Superior, Wisconsin, all the way through Michigan and two Great Lakes to Sarnia, Canada, has come under attack by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), causing ongoing legal issues, BBC reported Saturday.

According to the Michigan Governor, Line 5 creates an “unreasonable risk” to the state’s environment, thus justifying her decision to order the company to shut down. Permits for Enbridge to dig a tunnel that contains Line 5 have been pending since 2020, per Just The News.

Enbridge has disregarded Whiter’s demands, continuing operations. The company reportedly brings in up to $2 million daily on its pipeline alone. Michigan has responded by suing to close Line 5 permanently, with the case currently active in federal court.

Canada’s government has sided with Enbridge in the legal process, referring to the Transit Pipelines Treaty that empowers the transfer of oil between itself and the United States.

The pipeline was an issue discussed during the gubernatorial campaign of Tudor Dixon, a political commentator who ran against the Democrat governor as a Republican during the 2022 midterm elections.

“We have to be really careful that we don’t kneecap our economy with a radical energy agenda and Line 5 has not been shut down but that’s not because Gretchen Whitmer hasn’t tried,” Dixon said during the 2022 Michigan gubernatorial debate. “In fact, even Joe Biden came out and said, ‘you can’t really shut this down.”

The then-Republican candidate brought up Canada’s treaty with the United States as well, saying, “…Justin Trudeau, who I would say is the most radical environmentalist in the entire world, came out and invoked a 1977 treaty telling Gretchen Whitmer she could not shut down Line 5.”

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson stressed the importance of the Line 5 pipeline, arguing that alternative options such as moving the oil and natural gas by use of railroads and trucks are “less safe, less efficient, and higher emitting.”

Enbridge, which has been running the pipeline since 1953, claims it “has never experienced a leak in more than 65 years of operation” and that it provides “55% of Michigan’s statewide propane needs.”