Hard to argue there's an environmental crisis surrounding Line 5: Former U.S. ambassador
For anyone wondering what kind of economic repercussions shutting down Enbridge’s Line 5 could wreck on the economy, former U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson says you can look no further than the impact of the current Colonial Pipeline outage.
“One of the things that I think puts this into perspective is what’s going on in the United States, as we speak about the Colonial Pipeline that’s been shutdown because of ransomware for the last few days and gas stations are running out of gas,” Jacobson said in a broadcast interview Wednesday.
“This is a pipeline that carries almost the exact same percentage of energy to the Middle Atlantic States and you see the chaos it’s causing. And we’re talking about a permanent shutdown [of Line 5],” he added.
Today marks the deadline that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer had imposed on Enbridge back in November to shut down its Line 5 oil pipeline, citing environmental safety concerns since it crosses the Great Lakes.
This week, she hurled new threats at the company to seize any profits from the pipeline from here on in if it continues operating, but Enbridge is defying the shutdown order.
Line 5 is a crucial energy artery not only for Ontario and Quebec, but for Michigan and surrounding states as well – all depending on it for gasoline, propane for heating homes and jet fuel.
Elsewhere in the U.S., consumers and businesses are getting a hard lesson in the importance of a sudden pipeline outage.
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.
Data from gas station price tracker GasBuddy showed as of mid-day Wednesday, 65 per cent of gas stations in North Carolina were running dry while four in 10 stations in three other southeastern U.S. states were also out of gas.
The Canadian federal government has waded into the Line 5 dispute and filed a court submission Tuesday arguing the pipeline should be kept in service while mediation talks are ongoing.
At an unrelated event in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, on Wednesday, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan told reporters that he was feeling “calm” because the “law is on our side.”
“There is no court order to shut down the pipeline. It would require a court order to shut down the pipeline. So we feel very confident in our position,” O’Regan said.
While the outcome of the dispute is hard to predict, Jacobson is hoping for a peaceful resolution and doesn’t foresee lasting damage to Canada and the U.S.’s “enduring” relationship.