Enbridge Line 5 dispute raises tensions between U.S. and Canada

Canada believes shutting down Line 5 and canceling the Keystone XL project will cost jobs
Enbridge Line 5 runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac carrying crude oil between the Upper and...
Enbridge Line 5 runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac carrying crude oil between the Upper and Lower peninsulas.(WLUC)
Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 12:35 PM EDT
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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Months after President Joe Biden snubbed Canadian officials by canceling Keystone XL, a showdown over a second crude oil pipeline threatens to further strain ties between the two neighbors.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has set a May 12 deadline for Canadian energy company Enbridge to shut down its Line 5, which delivers oil from Alberta to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and eastern Canada.

Whitmer agrees with environmentalists who consider the pipeline an environmental hazard, mostly because one 68-year-old section crosses the Straits of Mackinac linking Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Canadian officials say closing the pipeline would hurt the economy and cost jobs in both countries.

Enbridge has indicated it will not abide by Whitmer’s May 12 deadline and continuing operating the pipeline. The issue is pending in U.S. District Court.

Enbridge instead is moving forward with plans to bore a $500 million tunnel in bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac to hold the Line 5 pipelines. The Michigan Legislature approved a deal for the tunnel shortly before former Gov. Rick Snyder left office in December 2018.

Enbridge contends that the tunnel would contain any spilled oil if Line 5 ever ruptures, preventing it from contaminating the Great Lakes. Environmentalists disagree and remain concerned that the twin pipelines pose a hazard to the ecosystem in the Straits.

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