DETROIT – Canada invoked a treaty with the United States and on Monday asked a judge to stay litigation over Michigan’s efforts to shut down a Great Lakes pipeline.
Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau has made it clear that his government supports Enbridge, the Calgary-based company that operates Line 5.
Canada said it has requested negotiations with the United States over the pipeline. He cited a provision in a 1977 treaty that said that no public authority in either country can take action to interfere with the flow of oil.
“For more than 65 years, Line 5 has been the safest way to transport Canadian hydrocarbons from western Canada to central Canada, helping to provide essential energy for heating homes and the economy of Canada. Said Garneau.
Line 5 transports approximately 23 million gallons (87 million liters) of petroleum and natural gas liquids daily between Superior, Wisconsin and Sarnia, Ontario, passing through parts of northern Michigan and Wisconsin.
A section of the pipeline passes through the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lakes Huron and Michigan to the top of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, both Democrats, said Line 5 is a serious threat to the Great Lakes and should be closed to prevent spills.
In a Michigan federal court, a lawyer representing Canada said the treaty dispute resolution process must trigger a pause in any litigation.
Whitmer said she was disappointed with Canada’s decision to invoke the treaty.
“Rather than taking steps to diversify the energy supply and ensure resilience, Canada has focused its efforts on defending an oil company with a terrible environmental record,” Whitmer said, noting a ruptured oil pipeline. ‘Enbridge in a river in southwest Michigan in 2010.
A mediator was working with Michigan and Enbridge to try to reach a settlement over Line 5, but talks ended on September 9 without a deal.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts of ‘Team Canada’, from the Government of Canada to the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan, for their commitments and efforts to keep Line 5 open,” Enbridge said Monday.
Before Whitmer took office in 2019, Enbridge had reached a deal with Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to protect the pipeline by building a tunnel by 2024.
Garneau said Canada supports this plan.
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