Canada Invokes Treaty, Tries to Delay Line 5 Shutdown in Michigan as Pipeline Spill Fouls California Coast

Today, as crews scramble to assess the incalculable damage from a pipeline oil spill off the California coast, Canada is seeking to delay a decision on the even older pipeline running along the bottomlands of the Great Lakes, Enbridge’s Line 5.

Canada filed a letter with Judge Janet T. Neff – who is deliberating the question of jurisdiction between the State of Michigan and Enbridge over Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ordered shutdown of Line 5 – informing the court that it has requested negotiations with the United States over the 1977 Agreement between the United States and Canada concerning Transit Pipelines. Canada, which is not a formal party to the lawsuit, is asking for an indefinite “abeyance”, which would suspend legal action and allow Enbridge Energy to continue pumping up to 23 million gallons a day of oil and natural gas liquids through Michigan and the Great Lakes.

Beth Wallace, Great Lakes Conservation Manager for the National Wildlife Federation, issued this statement in response:

“On the very day we’re seeing the effects of an oil pipeline rupture on the West Coast, Canada is seeking to increase the risk of an oil rupture in the Great Lakes by delaying the orderly shutdown of Line 5. They are ignoring the fate of people across the Great Lakes in favor of an oil corporation. Michigan has the right and duty to protect the Great Lakes from the devastation we’re seeing in California and Canada should be seeking alternatives instead of delays.”


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