Gretchen Whitmer’s Border War

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks throughout a information convention in Detroit, Aug. 16.


Nic Antaya/Associated Press

The Democratic Party’s hostility to grease and gasoline pipelines is now turning into a world downside, as Canada seeks a Biden Administration intervention over Michigan Gov.

Gretchen Whitmer’s

try and shut down Enbridge Energy’s Line 5.

Ottawa final week formally invoked the dispute-resolution article of a 1977 treaty governing transit pipelines between the 2 nations. The treaty states that, besides in an emergency, pure catastrophe or urgent security concern, “no public authority in the territory of either” the U.S. or Canada might take measures “which are intended to, or which would have the effect of, impeding, diverting, redirecting or interfering with in any way the transmission of hydrocarbon in transit.”

Yet Ms. Whitmer is appearing like she’s her personal sovereign nation. She moved final yr to revoke and terminate an easement that permits Line 5 to function in a 4.5-mile stretch within the Straits of Mackinac and ordered Enbridge to close down and “permanently decommission” the pipeline inside 180 days. Enbridge has defied Ms. Whitmer and continued operations, saying her unilateral actions lack authorized authority. The Governor is looking for an injunction to shut the pipeline.

If Ms. Whitmer prevails, she’ll disrupt a serious power provide chain that strikes greater than half 1,000,000 barrels of oil and pure gasoline liquids a day all through the Great Lakes area. In an amicus temporary filed in federal court docket in May, Canada stated residents of Quebec and Ontario depend on Line 5 to gas their automobiles and warmth their properties. The Toronto Pearson International Airport will depend on it for jet gas. Line 5 is a crucial provider for the Sarnia-Lambton Petrochemical and Refining Complex in Ontario, which employs greater than 4,900 individuals. If the pipeline shuts down, “up to 400,000 barrels per day of oil originating from western Canada (much of it destined for the United States)” can be stranded, the Canadian authorities stated.

“The shutdown would cause massive revenue losses and potentially significant job losses in the energy sector in western Canada, just as it is struggling to recover from the impacts of covid-19,” Canada warned. “Thus, the economic impacts of a shutdown would be immediate and severe both for fuel users in the east and for producers in the west.”

Ms. Whitmer stated in a press release that she is “profoundly disappointed” in Canada’s invocation of the treaty. “Rather than taking steps to diversify energy supply and ensure resilience, Canada has channeled its efforts into defending an oil company with an abysmal environmental track record,” she stated.

Never thoughts that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the federal regulator chargeable for overseeing the pipeline, stated this yr that it’s “presently aware of no unsafe or hazardous conditions that would warrant shutdown of Line 5.”

Canada is looking for a bilateral negotiation, but when that fails the dispute might find yourself in arbitration. In an e mail Thursday, a U.S. State Department spokesperson stated “we expect that both the U.S. and Canada will engage constructively in those negotiations,” including that “in addition to being one of our closest allies, Canada remains a key U.S. partner in energy trade as well as efforts to address climate change and protect the environment.”

If that’s greater than diplomatic boilerplate, the U.S. will abide by its treaty and inform Gov. Whitmer to face down. But Canada has discovered the exhausting manner from President Biden’s resolution to kill the Keystone XL pipeline that, on this Administration, hostility to fossil fuels trumps good neighborly relations.

Bad coverage decisions contribute to the power provide crunch. Photo: Associated Press

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Appeared within the October 11, 2021, print version.

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