The dispute over the Line 5 pipeline across the border is entirely up to Michigan to deal with, the state’s attorney general argued in a legal brief released Wednesday that explicitly rejects Canada’s portrayal of a foreign-policy case. Which Ottawa and the White House must solve.
In a strongly worded 21-page legal filing, Attorney General Dana Nessel exposes the arguments of Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., the owner of the pipeline, as “meritorious” and “baseless” and the submissions of the federal Liberal government, neighboring do away. Little more than policy-based window-dressing in the form of states and various industry stakeholders.
Enbridge is trying to convince Michigan court judge Janet Neff that the case should be heard by a federal judge because it is about Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s effort to close the line over fears of an environmental disaster in the Great Lakes. raises a “substantial federal question”. .
“This case is a state-law action through and through,” begins his brief.
Michigan is “invoking powers that are unique to a state sovereign,” it says, and claims under Michigan laws “on a strip of state-owned land, located within the state, and is held in trust by the State. Public benefit of its people.”
Concerns over waterway risk
The controversy first began in November when Whitmer – citing the risk of a catastrophe in the Strait of Mackinac, the waterway where Line 5 crosses the Great Lakes – abruptly canceled the rest that had allowed the line to operate since 1953. gave.
Enbridge says the pipeline is safe and has already received state approval for a $500 million effort to dig a tunnel under the strait that would house the line’s twin pipes and protect them from anchor attacks.
The company has clarified that it has no intention of voluntarily closing the pipeline.
Advocates, including Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan, say that Line 5 supplies more than half of the propane and domestic heating oil consumed in Michigan, and to say nothing of Ontario and Quebec for Ohio and Pennsylvania It is also an important source of energy for
They argue that closing it would be an environmental disaster in itself, resulting in gasoline shortages, price hikes on railways and highways throughout central Canada and the US Midwest, and some 800 additional oil-laden rail cars and 2,000 tanker trucks per day. Huh.
The suggestion of the Government of Canada that this Court should adjourn the matter pending dispute resolution under the Treaty is without legal basis.– Attorney General Dana Nessele
In a court filing of its own, known as an amicus brief, the federal government warned of damage to relations between Canada and the US and the risk of undermining the future credibility of US foreign-policy decisions. Tried to give
The court should instead set the matter aside and give the two countries a chance to settle under the terms of a 1977 treaty that specifically regulates pipelines that cross the border, Canada argued.
Crap, Nessel countered.
“The suggestion of the Government of Canada that this Court should adjourn this matter pending dispute resolution under the Treaty is without legal basis,” she wrote, noting that no such negotiations are currently underway. .
“This Court has no reason to delay or postpone its determination of the issue.”
The filing said that Canada’s amicus brief, as well as three others from neighboring states, as well as both countries’ chambers of commerce, “presented policy arguments in favor of continued operation of Line 5 based primarily on economic considerations.” Huh.”
“Such arguments about policy and the merits of Enbridge’s defense no longer have any bearing on the legal issue before the court: whether jurisdiction to remove exists.”
Enbridge and state officials have been participating in court-ordered mediation talks for the past several weeks, and an update filed in court last month indicated that talks would continue.
Canada’s brief depends widely on the close ties between the two countries, noting that they signed a bilateral agreement to protect the Great Lakes, as well as the original NAFTA and its more recent successor, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. negotiated successfully.
However, not everyone in Canada opposes Whitmer’s efforts. Several indigenous groups in Ontario support the shutdown, as does Green Party leader Annie Paul.
Paul has said Michiganders have not forgotten an Enbridge spill in 2010 that dumped more than 3.3 million liters of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River, contaminating more than 40 kilometers of shoreline.
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