Sarnia city council today announced it would unanimously support the push to keep Enbridge’s Line 5 oil and natural gas pipeline open in Michigan. Accordingly, several officials stated shutting down the pipeline would cut off the city’s economy, and result in thousands of direct and indirect job losses, reported The Observer.
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Sarnia City Council supporting Enbridge’s Line 5
This Tuesday, the Sarnia city council decided to unanimously support the push to keep the Line 5 oil and natural gas pipeline open, which Enbridge currently operates. Therefore, several city officials stated that closing the pipeline would result in many job losses and further economic turmoil for the local community.
For instance, Coun. Bill Dennis warned of these results, alongside higher food and fuel prices and a potential drop in real estate values. Therefore, “it’s time for the council to throw our support behind saving Line 5 actively,” he said.
However, this position differs from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s opinion. Furthermore, letters affirming the council’s support for Line 5 should be sent to provincial and federal governments, Whitmer and U.S. President Joe Biden, Dennis said.
“I would also request that we ask our major political parties provincially and federally to support us,” he said. Because “this is not about politics, this is about people and, more importantly, our people.”
Similarly, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, who’s helped lead the charge for Line 5 preservation, said a united vote from the council is an excellent message to send.
“I’m more upbeat that we’re winning this battle,” said Bradley. Besides, he noted Sarnia officials are in daily contact with Enbridge, the Calgary-based energy giant that owns the imperiled pipeline. Therefore, “I’m feeling much more optimistic today that we’re going to resolve this positively.”
Reception and support from Canada’s officials
In fact, the 68-year-old pipeline carries western oil and natural gas liquids from Superior, Wis., through Michigan to Sarnia as part of Enbridge’s pipeline system.
Furthermore, this decision challenges Gov. Whitmer’s decision. Indeed, while Whitmer gave the company 180 days (until May 12 ); to turn off the tap, Enbridge challenged that order and said it would continue operating the pipeline.
Moreover, the company is seeking permits and approvals to replace the crossing with a tunnel at the cost of about $500 million.
Nevertheless, Greg Rickford, Ontario’s energy minister, said Line 5 is a “key artery” supplying the province with oil. Therefore, he warned of the economic disaster that would result if it’s turned off; including the more than 4,900 jobs that would be put at risk.
Moreover, the Sarnia area is home to three of Ontario’s four refineries and several chemical plants.