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Canada Fights To Save Line 5 From Shutdown

Canada has repeatedly been raising with top U.S. officials, including President Joe Biden, the issue with Enbridge's Line 5 which Michigan wants shut down, and considers intervening in the legal dispute between the pipeline operator and the U.S. state, sources with knowledge of Canada's plans told Reuters.

The Line 5 pipeline saga – although not as spectacular as the killing of Keystone XL by President Biden or the troubles surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline – is once again pitting Canada against the U.S.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the director of the state's Department of Natural Resources revoked Enbridge's easement for the operation of the twin Line 5 pipeline last November, citing repeated violations of the easement and the need to protect the Great Lakes. Michigan's notice required Enbridge to cease operations of the pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac by May of 2021. Ten days after the state's notice, Enbridge filed a federal complaint at a U.S. district court seeking an injunction to stop Michigan's order for closure of the Line 5 pipeline, arguing that the state's shutdown order violates U.S. federal law and the Constitution.

According to Reuters' sources, dozens of meetings between U.S. and Canadian officials have been held so far this year. Not seeing a response to its calls to keep Line 5 open, Canada is now considering measures such as officially siding with Enbridge in the court case with Michigan in a so-called "friend of the court" brief, one of Reuters' sources said.

Earlier this month, Canada's Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan told Bloomberg that keeping Line 5 open is "nonnegotiable."

"Line 5 is very different from Keystone XL and we fully support it, and we will defend it," O'Regan said.

Enbridge also said earlier this month that a multi-party Canadian House of Commons Special Committee report affirmed the economic importance of Line 5 to both Canada and the U.S. and "recommends urgent, bi-national executive action to resolve the dispute between the State of Michigan and Enbridge over the Straits of Mackinac crossing."  

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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