UPDATE – Federal: New risk looms over Enbridge Line 5
A Wisconsin Indigenous band has asked a U.S. court for a quick judgment on an application to evict Enbridge Line 5 from its land. The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewais asked a U.S. federal court for a permanent injunction requiring Enbridge to “cease operation of the pipeline and to safely decommission and remove it.”
This latest risk to Line 5 is on top of the effort by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to cease the pipeline’s operations over fear of an oil spill in the Great Lakes. The Canadian government is trying to quash that attempt via negotiations with the United States.
Easements granted for Line 5 to cross the Bad River Band’s reservation have expired, and while Calgary-based Enbridge has proposed to reroute the pipeline around the land, the Indigenous group does not want to wait. The Canadian government said it would not file a brief opposing the Bad River Band’s application. Natural Resources Canada stated that “the Government of Canada has publicly supported Enbridge’s proposal and the regulatory process to reroute Line 5 off of the Bad River band’s territory.”
Enbridge has asked the CPA and its members to continue supporting the pipeline, as these recent developments present a critical challenge for the project. Specifically, conversations with the federal government should support a quick resolution to this challenge, as Line 5 is an essential transportation asset for propane for Canada and the U.S.
On May 10, the CPA wrote to Natural Resources Canada Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to indicate its concern about the issue. The CPA welcomed the minister’s recent response in the House of Commons that, “the continued operation of Line 5 is non-negotiable.”
- Line 5 is a 540,000 b/d segment of the Enbridge Mainline completed in 1953. Line 5 transports light crude oil, synthetic crude oil, and NGLs used in the marketing of heating propane.
- A shutdown of Line 5 places about 70% of Eastern Canada’s propane production at risk.
- NGL supplied on Line 5 makes up around 90% of the feedstock used to produce specification propane at the Sarnia Fractionation Plant.
- A 2022 study by the Consumer Energy Alliance found that families and businesses across the U.S. Midwest will spend at least $23.5 billion more on gasoline and diesel over the following five years due to the resulting loss of production at area refineries. There would be a significant and immediate increase of gasoline and diesel costs.
- Alternatives, such as using rail or trucks to replace the lost production of transportation fuels for regional markets, ignore capacity constraints at other refineries, the scarcity of railroad rolling stock, and the national shortage of qualified truck drivers.
The CPA will continue to work closely with Enbridge and other key stakeholders on this issue. Please reach out to CPA’s Vice President of Government Relations for Western Canada, Katie Kachur, with any questions or for additional support in your advocacy efforts.