In a recent decision, Enbridge has ignored Michigan’s shutdown order on a pipeline that is invaluable to the economic well being of Sarnia. Yesterday, Wednesday, May 12th was the deadline of the order issued by Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer– to cease operation of Line 5. Of primary concern was the idea that an oil spill beneath the Straits of Mackinac could have a devastating impact on the Great Lakes.
Ultimately ignoring the order, Enbridge has maintained that the the underwater section of the pipeline is safe, citing that an upgraded replacement has already been approved.
Enbridge Senior Vice President Mike Fernandez, in discussion with CTV News, has advised that Line 5 is permitted to continue operating while a legal process in in play in the United States.
“This matter sits in a federal court today,” explains Fernandez. “The federal judge who is in charge of this case has required both parties to participate in mediation.”
In statements to the U.S. media, Witmer has stated that she will pursue revenue generated by the pipeline for every day that it remains operational beyond the May 12th deadline.
While special interest groups have been supportive of the shutdown order, The Ontario government is reflecting on the impact to the local economy in Sarnia. It is estimated that 4,900 jobs in the Sarnia region rely on Line 5 and its continued operations.
“Every job position that trickles down is threatened,” says Anthony Primmer. “There are so many people only one or two steps removed (from Line 5). It covers hundreds of companies.”
Beyond concerns as to the economic blow that this would represent to Sarnia, the rest of the Province as well as Canada as a whole, is potentially impacted in a variety of ways, not the least of which is how this halt could drive up the cost of gas.
The Line 5 pipeline spans 1,000 kilometres through Michigan, connecting Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario.
The next scheduled mediation meeting between both sides is May 18.
With files from CTV news.