Line 5, from Calgary-based company Enbridge is still running as of this Thursday; it has halted the deadline to shut imposed by Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer; meanwhile mediation in courts continues and it is likely to be that way for days.
Firstly, as we reported previously, the 540,000 b/d pipeline had until May 12 to shut, otherwise, Michigan’s government would seize the profits of the company from the operation of the pipe. On May 11, Enbridge denied to shut the asset.
Secondly, Governor, Whitmer, revoked a 1953 easement that allowed the pipeline to operate for more than 65 years; accusing Enbridge of violating the terms of the agreement after the company attempted to build a tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac.
Thirdly, on Wednesday, no order emerged to actually make Enbridge shut the pipeline; however, the court mediation and battle initiated in April is likely to continue, while the pipeline runs. Whitmer, nevertheless, is set to make pressure on the company’s vice president Vern Yu.
Moreover, as said above, governor Whitmer wrote in a filing to the court: “Line 5 constitutes an intentional trespass. As its continued operation of the straits pipelines after May 12, 2021 is at its own risk.”
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In 2018 both Houses of Michigan legislature ratified the Line 5 bury in a tunnel
She also added and warned. “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.”
However, the Canadian government insisted on the fact that Whitmer has no jurisdiction on Line 5, as it is on a federal level where it should be discussed. In fact, there is a 1977 treaty between the U.S. and Canada. The treaty is called Agreement Between the Government of the United States and the Government of Canada Concerning Transit Pipelines.
Furthermore, Whitmer would be violating that treaty, and therefore, a federal court should be discussing the issue, and could be the only one to actually shut the pipeline. However, no federal U.S. officials have taken on the argument about the asset. Not even secretary of Energy, Granholm, former Michigan governor.
In addition, Yu said on a letter. “Enbridge has a responsibility to the people of Michigan and the Great Lakes region, and will continue to operate Line 5 safely, reliably and affordably to fuel to the region’s economies.”
Finally, the company noted that, in 2018, both houses of the Michigan legislature passed an agreement ratifying the bury the straits pipeline crossing in a $500 million tunnel.