Despite Michigan's deadline today for Enbridge to shut down Line 5, the Calgary-based company's pipeline continues to operate amid a dispute involving governments on both sides of the border.
Enbridge argues MI has no authority to order the shutdown because the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration oversees interstate pipelines. "Canada relationship has been successfully managed for generations", Ottawa said. -Canada relationship has been successfully managed for generations", the Trudeau government said in a brief, adding that "Michigan's move "threatens to undermine important aspects of that cooperative global relationship".
The brief said Canada would suffer "massive and potentially permanent disruption" from a shutdown.
The Democratic governor has issued a letter telling Vern Yu, Enbridge's executive vice-president for liquids pipelines, that continued operation of the line "constitutes an intentional trespass" and the company would do so "at its own risk". The pipeline helps deliver almost half of the supply of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil and natural gas liquids in Ontario and Quebec. The White House has so far kept quiet.
The government of Alberta, Canada's main crude-producing province, welcomed the federal government's intervention.
In November, Michigan's governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an order that gave Enbridge until Wednesday to shut Line 5, arguing that the pipeline threatens the Great Lakes because it crosses along the bed of the Mackinac Strait.
"Thats in the courts", she said, "so were not going to have anything to add".
Today Canada filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of MI to support continued mediation between Enbridge and the State of MI. They are scheduled to meet again May 18.
"Line 5 is a critical energy and economic link between Canada and the United States, and coveys Canada's belief that the USA federal court is the proper jurisdiction to hear the case between MI and Enbridge", said the federal government's news release.
"The State intends to assert claims for trespass and unjust enrichment against Enbridge at the appropriate time", Whitmer wrote, adding MI was confident it would win the ongoing legal battle. "We can not proceed until jurisdiction is resolved because we do not believe the federal court has jurisdiction to issue such an order".
Ontario estimates the city of Sarnia, across the border from MI, could lose 5,000 refinery and chemical plant jobs.
An Enbridge spokesperson confirmed operations Wednesday have not been impacted. "It's a catastrophe here because of the jobs that would be impacted, but it ripples", said Bradley.