Whitmer and local lawmakers at odds over Canadian pipeline decision

As Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer lashed out at Canada over her apparent decision to support the continued use of an oil pipeline crossing the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, local lawmakers have maintained their position according to which the project creates jobs and provides safe and affordable energy to the region.

Canada filed a letter this week in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan stating that it had formally requested negotiations with the United States under Article IX of the 1977 Treaty on through pipelines in connection with Michigan’s actions regarding Line 5.

Whitmer maintains that the pipeline creates a threat of a catastrophic Great Lakes spill.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Government of Canada has chosen to invoke (the treaty) in an attempt to help Enbridge, a private oil company, to circulate crude oil indefinitely through the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan,” he said. she declared. “As long as oil is flowing through pipelines, there is a very real threat of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes. I made it clear to Enbridge that they could not use the bed of our publicly owned lake for these pipelines, but Enbridge refused to shut down. “

US Representative Tim Walberg R-Tipton questioned whether Whitmer was seeking publicity with his position.

“Has Governor Whitmer made any foreign policy decisions for the Biden administration or is he just independent for publicity reasons?” he said. “Either way, his latest attack on Line 5 and US international agreements is bad news for the people of Michigan.”

State Senator Dale Zorn, R-Ida, said he understands Canada’s decision. He said the pipeline ensures people have access to safe and affordable energy and that the move protects thousands of well-paying jobs.

“Environmentally, the governor is simply wrong,” Zorn said. “To transport the necessary energy resources without the pipeline would require tens of thousands of additional rail cars and trucks as well as barges and tankers on the Great Lakes – at a much greater risk to our water.

TC Clements State Representative R-Temperance agrees.

“I fully support Canada’s decision to request the opening of negotiations with the United States,” he said. “The governor’s plan to shut down Line 5 would disrupt so many hard-working families and plunge Michigan into an energy crisis.”

Whitmer said that by supporting Enbridge, the Government of Canada chose to tender for the same oil company responsible for the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill, one of the largest inland oil spills. of the nation’s history that occurred in Michigan.

“I expected Canada, a country proud of its commitment to environmental protection, to share my interest in protecting the Great Lakes,” said Whitmer.

But Walberg maintains that the pipeline is safe and operated responsibly, and that its closure would have far-reaching negative repercussions.

“The chaos that ensued when the Colonial Pipeline closed days earlier this year should serve as a wake-up call,” Walberg said. “The last thing we need right now is to shut down another pipeline for good, which will disrupt supply chains, jeopardize jobs and drive energy costs up through the roof. “

Whitmer maintains the Line 5 pipeline is a time bomb that could lead to an oil spill in the Great Lakes, putting families and small businesses in the area at risk.

State Representative Joe Bellino R-Monroe said the governor’s motives for fighting Enbridge are political and reckless in nature.

“The pipeline is vital for the hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who depend on the propane it transports,” he said. “If the same problem existed in more densely populated areas of the state, the governor would have hailed it long ago. The environmental argument she touts is flawed at best.”

Whitmer said Enbridge has a troubling environmental record and said pressure from Canada to store highly radioactive nuclear waste near Lake Huron has shown Michigan’s neighbor to the north is unwilling to prioritize the Bigs. Lakes on its own energy interests.

Whitmer also said she and the Michigan Civil Service Commission launched the MI Propane Safety Plan to protect jobs and diversify and expand renewable energy resources. Since the start of 2019, the Democratic governor has said her administration has been preparing for potential alternatives to ensure the energy security of Michigan’s two peninsulas in the event that Line 5 closes.

But opponents of the idea, such as Republicans who serve Monroe County, said that would not be enough to make up for the job losses created by the potential pipeline closure.

“If she is successful, her actions would be devastating to our economy and the lives of millions of struggling families and small businesses,” Zorn said.

“In the absence of Line 5, Governor Whitmer does not intend to provide the energy needed to heat the homes of Michigan families and power businesses in the area,” Walberg added.

Clements said: “The Michigan legislature has approved the construction of a tunnel to surround Line 5 to avoid any risk of anchor strike or damage to the pipeline, but the governor continues to hamper this development. J he hopes the United States and Canada can come to an agreement that does not send Michigan into the Dark Ages.

And Bellino added, “Without the pipeline, we will have hundreds and hundreds of trucks carrying the same propane across the bridge, creating a greater daily environmental impact and potentially more risk of catastrophic failure. “

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