SARNIA — Enbridge Line 5 continues to flow oil and natural gas to Michigan and Ontario while the critical pipe’s operational status is contested in an American court and mediated behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, the subject did come up during an Aug. 2 phone call between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden — though only the Canadian side acknowledged it.
Enbridge Inc. has refused to comply with the State of Michigan’s demand to shut down the 1953 line. At issue is a section of pipeline that lay on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan. Claiming the pipeline poses a spill risk in the water body straddling two of the great lakes, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revoked a state easement last November, touching off the dispute with the Calgary-based company.
The parties are scheduled to conclude their court-ordered mediation by the end of August.
A shutdown of the line would immediately impact the refinery industry in Sarnia, at the end of Line 5, and lead to propane and fuel shortages in Ontario and Quebec, according to analysts. Ironically, Michigan also relies heavily on the line for its fuel needs.