Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge continues pipeline operation, ignoring Whitmer’s May 12 deadline.
While California Gov. Gavin Newsom is certainly a strong contender for Worst Governor, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer is certainly giving him a serious challenge for the title.
At least Newsom is returning some tax monies to his citizens. This week, during the Colonial Pipeline crisis that has impacted the East Coast, Whitemer is targeting a Great Lakes oil pipeline and trying to shut it down.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer threatened Tuesday to go after Enbridge’s profits from a Great Lakes oil pipeline if the company defies her order to shut it down.
The Democratic governor issued the warning in a letter to the Canadian energy transport company on the eve of a state-imposed deadline to halt operation of Line 5, which moves oil through northern Wisconsin and Michigan to refineries in Ontario. Enbridge repeated its intention to defy Whitmer’s demand.
A nearly 4-mile-long section of Line 5 divides into two pipes that cross the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Whitmer used eco-activist reasoning in ordering the pipeline to shut, saying the segment is vulnerable to a catastrophic spill in the cold, swirling channel. The governor revoked a the 1953 easement last November for the pipes to occupy the lake bottom and ordered them closed by May 12.
I also have to say, increasing the trade tensions with Canada is an interesting bonus to Whitmer’s approach.
The Canadian oil transport firm, Enbridge, is ignoring the order and continues to send 23 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas liquids through Line 5. The firm asserts that the federal government has the final jurisdiction in this matter.
The battle over Line 5 is playing out in both state and federal courts, and in the court of public opinion. Enbridge, with allies including many Republicans in the state Legislature, business and industry groups and labor unions for refinery workers, says a Line 5 shutdown would devastate Michigan’s and the region’s energy supply and economy — and the company has spread that message far and wide across television, the web and print in an expensive media blitz.
…Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said operations will continue.
“We will not stop operating the pipeline unless we are ordered by a court or our regulator, which we view as highly unlikely,” he said.
“Line 5 is operating safely, reliably and is in compliance with the law. The state of Michigan has never presented any concrete evidence to suggest otherwise. The U.S. agency in charge of pipeline safety, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), has confirmed on multiple occasions that the pipelines are fit for service.”
The company has a strong case for continuing.
…[I]nternational trade lawyer Lawrence Herman says that the United States, not Michigan, is legally bound to keep the pipeline running.
He points to the 1977 Transit Pipelines Treaty between Canada and the United States, which was ratified by the US congress.
“Regardless of what the state of Michigan may or may not want to do, the treaty is binding on the United States as a whole,”said Herman. “It’s a matter between the two governments: Canada and the United States.”
Both governments intended the deal to be a long-term arrangement, said Herman, pointing out the treaty requires either side give 10 years notice to withdraw.
“My point is, a deal is a deal,” he said.
Whitmer is up for reelection in 2022. It is going to be interesting to see if Michigan voters appreciate the continuing pandemic restrictions on their freedoms and an escalation in fuel costs…or will choose another option.
At least, as a Californian, I get some pocket change and a free recall circus.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.