UPDATE: Line 5 is now fully operational
After Enbridge had identified and reported minor repairs that were required for the East and West lines last spring, the Michigan Attorney General’s response was to file for a Temporary Injunction on June 30, shutting down Line 5 both East and West.
The West line was open within several days but the East Line was not reopened until September 9, after Enbridge received approval from the U.S Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Michigan Circuit Court to restart the East Link of Line 5. The actions of the Attorney General raise concerns about the long-term survival of Line 5 and the need to highlight its importance to Canada’s energy supply chain.
In response to the Attorney Generals’ actions, the CPA reached out to federal NRCan Minister Seamus O’Regan, premiers in Ontario, Quebec, (in conjunction with AQP), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador to alert them to the risk associated with losing that critical supply chain. The CPA also wrote to Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe in his capacity as the Chair of the Federation. In addition, the CPA remained in close contact throughout with our colleagues at the National Propane Gas Association in Washington.
The CPA has received positive responses of support. The most recent being a letter from Minister O’Regan dated October 7 noting: “Our government has also been clear that it is dedicated to developing Canada’s resources in a sustainable manner that reduces emissions, protects Canada’s rich natural environment, respects the rights and treaties of Indigenous Peoples, and supports the resilience of our natural resource industries."
As well, on August 11, the CPA wrote to the Michigan Public Service Commission outlining importance of Line 5 and that the CPA believes the Enbridge proposal meets the safety requirements.
That letter to the Commission stated in part, “The existing agreement that Enbridge signed in 2018 with the State of Michigan requires Enbridge to replace existing Line 5 dual pipelines at the Straits of Mackinac with a pipeline secured in a large underground tunnel, deep under the Straits. Once that tunnel is complete, Enbridge will permanently deactivate the existing dual pipelines at the Straits. The plan outlined by Enbridge meets the important criteria of environmental safety while maintaining critical energy infrastructure.”
The CPA will continue to monitor this issue closely and interject as appropriate. While the current issue around the continuation of Line 5 has been resolved, the CPA will continue to work to ensure that a long-term solution to ensure the transportation of propane via Line 5 is achieved.