CALGARY, Alberta-A day before Michigan's deadline to close down a key crude oil pipeline, Canada on Tuesday issued its strongest remarks so far about the move, warning that it could undermine relations with the United States, its closest ally and trading partner. They plan "Evict Enbridge" rallies in Mackinaw City, Michigan, on Wednesday and Thursday.
The so-called "chambers brief" followed a similar filing Tuesday by the federal Liberal government, a rare global foray into US legal proceedings, that urged the court to keep the pipeline running and the two sides to reach a settlement. As her May 12 deadline arrived, Canadian pipeline company Enbridge said only the federal government has regulatory authority over its operations.
A court-appointed mediator is scheduled to meet with the two sides again on May 18.
That didn't discourage those opposed to Whitmer's efforts to speak their minds.
Richard Studley, the head of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, didn't mince words, either.
Enbridge, he said, has gone to great lengths to assuage the state's concerns, including with the tunnel, promises of round-the-clock monitoring, an emergency buoy system and keeping response teams on standby - "only to be demonized for political purposes". "The question it raises in the general business community is, 'Who's next?'"
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Simply put, a shutdown of Line 5 will threaten the energy supply of Canada's two most populous provinces and will lead to job losses and spikes in energy prices that would increase the cost of nearly everything, from food to driving cars to heating homes. In other words, the fuel this pipeline supplies will be transported by alternative modes of transportation even if it means resorting to less safe and more environmentally damaging alternatives such as rail and truck.
The Colonial Pipeline shutdown is stretching into its fifth day, leaving some American drivers scrambling to find a gas station that is stocked with fuel.
"I don't see a court jumping the gun and ordering it closed ... until the litigation and constitutional issues are resolved", he said by phone. The Colonial Pipeline was pushed back into service Wednesday evening and is expected to be fully online by the weekend.
"We don't weigh in on that ... it will be decided in court", U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm told reporters on Tuesday when asked about the White House's position on Line 5.
Both the Colonial shutdown and the collapse of the electrical grid in Texas during a severe cold snap in February should serve as "major wake-up call experiences", he added.
Industrial greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in both Canada and the USA would increase. "Canada relationship has been successfully managed for generations", Ottawa said.