May 11, 2021

-Global News


The federal government is stepping up its fight with Michigan over the fate of the Line 5 pipeline.

Natural Resources Canada filed court documents today to formally oppose Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s effort to shut down the cross-border energy link.

Whitmer has given Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. until Wednesday to shut down Line 5 — a demand the company says it has no plans to meet.

Whitmer says she fears an environmental catastrophe in the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway where Line 5 traverses the Great Lakes.

A court-ordered negotiation is underway, with the two sides scheduled to meet again May 18, several days after Whitmer’s self-imposed deadline.

“Line 5 does not just affect one province or one region — it supports our entire country,” wrote Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan in a statement.

He argued that the pipeline is not only important for Canadians, but for Americans too.

“This pipeline is as important to Canada as it is to the U.S. It heats both Canadian and American homes. It supports both Canadian and American jobs.”

Canada’s so-called amicus brief, filed with help from the Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario governments, urges the court to avoid a unilateral shutdown and expresses support for a mediated solution to the dispute.

“We are continuing to work together to defend Line 5, leaving no stone unturned in defending Canada’s energy security and the workers who built this country,” O’Regan said.

Reaction from the provinces also swiftly began to pour in. Saskatchewan’s Energy Minister, Bronwyn Eyre, called the court filing a “positive step” to keep Line 5 in operation.

“The Government of Saskatchewan unequivocally supports the continued operation of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, which is a tangible symbol of a traditionally strong relationship between Canada and the US and pivotal to North American energy security,” she wrote.

“Any shutdown of this pipeline would harm Saskatchewan oil producers, workers on both sides of the border, and lead to more environmentally risky transportation of energy products by truck and rail.”