While Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer beat Canada after his apparent decision to support continued use of a crude oil pipeline across the bottom of the Mackinac Strait, local lawmakers maintained their stance that the project would create jobs and secure, affordable energy for the region.
Canada filed a letter in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan this week stating that it is formally seeking negotiations with the United States under Article IX of the 1977 Transit Pipeline Treaty in connection with Michigan’s actions on Line 5 Has.
Whitmer claims the pipeline poses a catastrophic leakage hazard in the Great Lakes.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Canadian government has chosen to rely on (the contract) to help Enbridge, a private oil company, keep the crude oil flowing indefinitely through the Michigan Straits from Mackinac,” she said . “As long as oil is flowing through the pipelines, there is a very real risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes. I’ve made it clear to Enbridge that it can’t use our state-owned seabed for these pipelines, but Enbridge has refused to stop it. “
US MP Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, wondered if Whitmer was looking for publicity with her stance.
“Has Governor Whitmer made foreign policy decisions for the Biden administration or is it just a freelance public?” he said. “Either way, their latest attack on Line 5 and America’s international accords are bad news for the people of Michigan.”
State Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, said he understood Canada’s decision. He said the pipeline will give people access to safe and affordable energy and the move will protect thousands of high-paying jobs.
“On the environmental front, the governor is simply wrong,” said Zorn. “Moving the required energy resources without the pipeline would require tens of thousands more wagons and trucks as well as oil-hauling barges and tankers on the Great Lakes – a much greater risk to our water.”
State Rep. TC Clements, R-Temperance, agreed.
“I fully support Canada’s decision to seek negotiations with the United States,” he said. “The governor’s plan to close Line 5 would disrupt so many hard-working families and plunge Michigan into an energy crisis.”
Whitmer said that in helping Enbridge, the Canadian government decided to take on the tender for the same oil company that was responsible for the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill, one of the largest inland oil spills in the nation’s history that occurred in Michigan .
“I expected that Canada, a nation proud of its environmental commitment, would share my interest in protecting the Great Lakes,” said Whitmer.
However, Walberg claims the pipeline is safe and responsibly operated and that a shutdown would have far-reaching negative effects.
“The chaos that emerged when the Colonial Pipeline was shut down for just a few days earlier this year was meant to serve as a wake-up call,” said Walberg. “The last thing we need now is the permanent shutdown of another pipeline that disrupts supply chains, endangers jobs and drives up energy costs.”
Whitmer claims the Line 5 pipeline is a ticking time bomb that could lead to an oil spill in the Great Lakes that would put families and small businesses across the region at risk.
State Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, said the governor’s motivation for fighting Enbridge was political and ruthless.
“The pipeline is vital to the hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents who depend on the propane it carries,” he said. “If the same problem had existed in more densely populated areas of the state, the governor would have welcomed it long ago. The environmental argument she makes is misguided at best.”
Whitmer said Enbridge has a troubling environmental record, claiming Canada’s push to dump high-level nuclear waste near Lake Huron had shown that Michigan’s neighbor to the north was unwilling to prioritize the Great Lakes over its own energy interests.
Whitmer also stated that she and the Michigan Public Service Commission launched the MI Propane Security Plan to protect jobs and diversify and expand renewable energy resources. As of early 2019, the Democratic governor said her administration was preparing for potential alternatives to ensure energy security for both Michigan peninsulas in the event of Line 5 closing.
However, opponents of the idea, like the Republicans who serve Monroe County, said it would not be enough to offset the job losses caused by the possible closure of the pipeline.
“If it is successful, its actions would be devastating to our economy and the lives of millions of troubled families and small businesses,” Zorn said.
“Without Line 5, Governor Whitmer has no plan to provide the energy needed to heat Michigan families’ homes and run electricity businesses across the region,” added Walberg.
Clements said, “Michigan’s lawmakers approved a tunnel around Line 5 to prevent possible anchor hammering or damage to the pipeline, but the governor continues to obstruct this development. I am confident that the United States and Canada can reach an agreement that will not send Michigan into the dark ages. “
And Bellino added, “Without the pipeline, we will have hundreds and hundreds of trucks carrying the same propane across the bridge, adding more daily environmental pollution and potentially a higher risk of catastrophic failures.”