Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) has ordered a Canadian energy company to shut down an oil and gas pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac, claiming the pipeline is a “ticking timebomb” even though the company says the line has never leaked into the straits.
The Guardian reported that Whitmer told the Canadian company, Enbridge, to shut down the pipeline known as Line 5 by Wednesday due to activist fears that it could spill any day. The pipeline has operated for nearly 67 years and, according to Enbridge, the portion of the pipeline that runs through the straights has never leaked. A different Enbridge pipeline spilled 845,000 gallons of oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River back in 2010.
Further, Enbridge has been “working to tunnel beneath the lake bed to further improve the safety of the pipeline,” the Guardian reported, because the pipeline has been hit in the past two years by boat anchors and cables.
“These oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac are a ticking timebomb, and their continued presence violates the public trust and poses a grave threat to Michigan’s environment and economy,” Whitmer’s office said in a statement regarding the pipeline.
The Canadian energy company has defied the order from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, saying that only the federal government has regulatory authority over its operations. It says leaks have never occurred in the underwater section of Line 5, although in 2010, a different Enbridge pipeline spilled nearly a million gallons of oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.
Line 5 moves oil and natural gas liquids for 645 miles (1038 kilometers) through northern Wisconsin and Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario. The nearly 23 million gallons (87 million liters) it carries daily are refined for gasoline, jet fuel, and propane in several Midwestern states, as well as Ontario and Quebec.
Enbridge explained its decision, supported by numerous chambers of commerce, Republican legislators in Michigan, and the Canadian government, by pointed to last week’s hack of the computer systems linked to the Colonial Pipeline, which carries gasoline and diesel from Texas refineries to supply around 45 percent of the gasoline consumed on the East Coast.
Fears of fuel shortages led to panic-buying and widespread purchases that have left thousands of filling stations without fuel.
“The cyberattack that triggered an unplanned, temporary closure brings to the forefront what consumers could face,” said Mike Moeller, Enbridge’s director of operations for the Great Lakes region. “Without Line 5, consumers will shoulder the burden of supply disruptions and related price increases, particularly for propane and transportation fuel.”
Whitmer’s office has repeatedly warned Enbridge that continuing to operate Line 5 “constitutes an intentional trespass” and that its “unlawful” defiance of her order would be “at its own risk.”
“If the state prevails in the underlying litigation, Enbridge will face the prospect of having to disgorge to the state all profits it derives from its wrongful use of the easement lands following that date,” the governor told Enbridge in a letter .
The Canadian government has argued that the 1977 Transit Pipelines Treaty between Canada and the United States guarantees the free flow of oil between the two nations.
This is an excerpt from The Epoch Times.
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