Biden is unlikely to rescue Canada in the Line 5 dispute with Michigan

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has set tomorrow’s deadline for Enbridge to close the Line 5 oil and gas pipeline through the state.

It will not be enforced. But as one deadline passes, others are imminent.

The state government and Enbridge are still in the mediation proceedings ordered by the court to resolve the dispute. The dispute was based on the fierce political rhetoric used on both sides of the border to no avail.

Whitmer said that Line 5 passes through the Strait of Mackinac and connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron. This is a “ticking time bomb” and poses a “catastrophic” threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem.

The governor’s determination to close the pipeline that has been operating since the 1950s has received strong support from indigenous groups and environmentalists, who vividly remember Another pipeline operated by Enbridge in the state suffered an oil spill in 2010.

In 2010, oil from a broken pipeline owned by Enbridge Inc. was evacuated, and a worker monitored the water in Talmadge Creek, Marshall, near the Kalamazoo River in Mississippi. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said that the continued operation of the production line is “non-negotiable.” He warned again on Tuesday that shutting it down would have “far-reaching effects” on the economies and energy security of both countries.

Currently, Line 5 transports 540,000 barrels of petroleum products per day.Embrich said it provided most of the propane used in Michigan, as well as nearly half of the light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil and natural gas liquids. In Ontario and Quebec.

Even for the most skilled mediator, finding common ground between these competing positions will be a challenge.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hopes for reconciliation. Canada hopes to avoid a repeat of the political and diplomatic scrapping of the Keystone XL pipeline he proposed by US President Joe Biden, which is one of his first acts since he took office.

Trudeau told reporters at today’s press conference: “We continue to monitor the issue of Line 5 very closely. We know this is an energy security issue for Canadians and Americans.”

“This is why we are strongly pushing for the continuation of the mediation process between Enbridge and Michigan. We will continue to weigh through our embassy in Washington and with our partners, because we know the energy cooperation with the United States Partnerships are good citizens on both sides of the border.”

Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau controls the fate of Line 5

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with reporters at the regular pandemic briefing on Tuesday. 0:37

The official statement is that the dispute was between a Canadian company and a US state.

However, it is indisputable that Line 5 is creating another serious bilateral irritation in the relationship between Canada and the United States-a president who should be more friendly to Canada’s interests, and his election heralds a greater than Canada’s previous election. Constructive relationships are more constructive relationships. With former President Donald Trump.

High stakes

“It’s not an easy task,” said Peter Boehm, a Canadian senator and former diplomat, who served in the United States for many years. “The question is, at what level do you want these discussions to take place? For now, the court seems to be the best place to find a solution.”

This does not mean that negotiations will not take place on a political level. Trudeau said that he and his cabinet ministers have improved the 5th line in every chance of contact with U.S. officials-although Canadian officials insist that this dispute will not be like Keystone XL in Stephen Harper Barack · Define Canada-US relations as they did in the Obama era.

But the stakes are high.

The Trudeau government has hired a close-knit Democrat Gordon Giffin (on behalf of Bill Clinton’s second-term US ambassador to Ottawa (no stranger to the Biden administration)) to represent Canada here Interests in the case.

Giffin filed a motion in the U.S. District Court of Michigan on Tuesday. It urged the court to “take action to ensure that Line 5 is not subject to unilateral forced closure,” and said that “the closure should not occur until the U.S. and Canadian governments have completed their efforts to resolve the issue.” Sign a bilateral treaty, which directly involves 5. Transit pipelines such as the number line. “

If all other methods fail, there is a treaty

The last point is Canada’s (forgive) trump card. The 1977 Transit Pipeline Treaty prohibits any party from blocking the transportation of oil and natural gas through pipelines such as Line 5 that passes through the United States (connecting one part of Canada to another).

Invoking the treaty would be a last resort signal-it shows that all lobbying efforts have failed, and President Biden is unwilling to intervene.

A spokesperson for the US State Department said in an email to ABC: “The United States is eager to work with Canada and other partners to demonstrate our collective leadership in climate change and put the world on a path of sustainable development.”

“We are closely following the contacts between Michigan and Embrich on issues related to Line 5, and hope that the two sides can reach a mutually agreed solution.”

President Joe Biden will visit Pfizer’s production site in Portage, Michigan on Friday, February 19, 2021. (Evan Wach/Associated Press)

Democrat Whitmer is an important ally of Biden and is in an important swing. The governor co-chaired Biden’s presidential campaign, and the president nominated her to serve as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

She proposed that her decision was to protect the environment and respond to climate change, which made it more difficult for the Biden government to intervene on behalf of Canada.

A spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told CBC that the state is still determined to enforce the suspension order.

Nessel Press Secretary Lynsey Mukomel said in a statement sent to CBC News: “We need a court order to ask Ambridge to shut down under the notice.” We will continue to work hard to achieve this goal as soon as possible. “

At present, oil still flows through Line 5. It is expected that more political negotiations and legal means will be conducted.

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