Canada invokes treaty with US in dispute over Line 5 pipeline

Canada has formally invoked a world treaty with the United States over Enbridge Inc’s Line 5 pipeline, escalating a dispute over the contentious undertaking slammed by environmental and Indigenous teams.

Line 5 ships 540,000 barrels per day of crude and refined merchandise from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, however the state of Michigan ordered Enbridge to close it down resulting from worries a leak may develop in a piece working beneath the Straits of Mackinac within the Great Lakes.

Enbridge ignored Michigan’s order and the perimeters are embroiled in a authorized battle, whereas Ottawa has been pushing its counterparts within the US to intervene.

In a assertion on Monday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau stated Canada had invoked the dispute settlement provisions of a 1977 treaty with the US that “guarantees the uninterrupted transit of light crude oil and natural gas liquids between the two countries”.

This is the primary time the treaty has been invoked.

“In response to Michigan’s efforts to shut down Line 5, Canada has raised its significance for Canadian economic and energy security at the highest levels of the U.S. federal government,”  Garneau stated.

“We have also stressed the importance of fully respecting and implementing the international agreements that are in place between our two countries.”

The announcement was slammed by environmental group 350 Canada, which stated it demonstrates “the lengths our government will go to prop up the fossil fuel industry, when they could be throwing down behind a just transition that puts people, our planet, and workers first”.

Article Six is the method utilized by the 1977 treaty to resolve disputes.

In a letter to the US federal decide overseeing the case between Enbridge and Michigan, Gordon Giffin, authorized counsel for the Canadian authorities, requested the courtroom to halt any proceedings associated to Michigan’s Line 5 shutdown order whereas the Article Six course of is ongoing.

That was criticised by Sean McBrearty, co-ordinator for environmentalists Oil & Water Don’t Mix.

“The government of Canada took an action today that ignores the risk of an oil spill in the Great Lakes and seems clearly designed to delay a legal decision to shut down Enbridge’s twin Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac,” McBrearty instructed Reuters.

Indigenous communities have raised opposition to a number of massive oil pipeline initiatives in Canada and the US in recent times [File: Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters]

Michigan leaders have additionally argued that the pipeline poses a menace to the Great Lakes, which encompass the US state and comprise about 20 p.c of the world’s contemporary water provides.

On Monday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel dismissed the Canadian authorities’s letter to the courtroom.

“I am disappointed that the Government of Canada continues to align itself with Enbridge’s desire to keep using State-owned lands to pump oil through the heart of the Great Lakes, threatening our most precious public resources,” Nessel stated in a press release.

The US State Department didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark from the Reuters information company on Monday.

Indigenous teams have additionally raised severe considerations about Line 5, saying a spill may endanger freshwater provides for hundreds of thousands of individuals within the Great Lakes space, in addition to hurt native wildlife and marine species.

In May, the Anishinabek Nation stated it was “disappointed” the Canadian authorities was against Michigan’s closure of the pipeline.

“It is upsetting to see that the Government of Canada will pick and choose which treaties to uphold based on convenience and profit, rather than in good faith for the health, safety, and well-being of all inhabitants of these lands,” Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare stated in a assertion at the moment.

“The Government of Canada is not upholding the treaties made with the First Nations, but will uphold the 1977 treaty for Pipelines.”

Monday’s announcement was welcomed by Canada’s Building Trades Unions, which represents greater than 500,000 building employees.

Ensuring Line 5 continues to function will “protect thousands of jobs on both sides of the border”, the group’s government director, Sean Strickland, stated in a press release. “Cancelling the easement for Line 5 will not only threaten our energy security and drive consumer prices through the roof, it will cost thousands of workers their livelihood.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford additionally stated he backed Ottawa’s resolution. “Line 5 is a vital source of energy for Ontario that generates thousands of good-paying jobs. We support the federal government taking this important step,” Ford tweeted.


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