OPINION: Canada not backing down on threat to Line 5

The Enbridge Line 5 pipeline in south Sarnia. Journal file photo

Seamus O’Regan Jr. & Mike Bradley

Canadians will not be left out in the cold.

The heating of Canadian homes, the flying of Canadian jets, the operation of Canadian refineries, and the protection of our environment are non-negotiable.

Tens of thousands of Sarnians work at the petrochemical complex and refineries in the region and depend on Line 5 for their livelihoods. Their jobs and the jobs of other Canadian workers are non-negotiable.

Canada is defending our energy security, our jobs, our environment, and our economic prosperity.

The Government of Canada has filed an amicus curiae brief in the ongoing court proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

We’re pursuing a ‘Team Canada’ approach – across party lines including labour and the building trades – that leaves no stone unturned. Together we’re looking at all our options and stand ready with more at our disposal.

We remain hopeful Enbridge and the State of Michigan will be able to find a local solution – one that maintains energy security for both Canada and the United States.

Protecting the environment and our waterways is of international importance. This is especially true of the Great Lakes, which we have long worked in partnership with the United States to protect through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the International Joint Commission.

Line 5 has safely and reliably delivered energy to the Great Lakes Region for 68 years, with zero spill incidents in the Straits of Mackinac.

Of course, infrastructure is something that requires continuous improvement and Line 5 is no exception. Enbridge has taken several steps to improve the safety of Line 5 over the years, including having highly trained staff monitor the line on a 24/7 basis, using sophisticated monitoring systems.

The Great Lakes Tunnel Project makes this safe pipeline even safer: Enbridge will replace Line 5 with a pipeline housed in a concrete tunnel and buried under the lakebed. It’s a project designed to enhance protection for the Great Lakes – precisely what the State of Michigan is seeking.

Sarnians have faced a challenging year with a pandemic that changed everything and now, uncertainty over supply chains and delivery systems.

Line 5 is a critical energy and economic link between Canada and the United States. Demand for the over 540,000 barrels of oil per day it transports won’t just disappear if the pipeline is shutdown. The energy products will still get to market, but they will need to be on rail, on truck, and marine transport. These options are less safe, higher emitting, and more expensive.

Enbridge’s Line 5 is the safest, lowest-emitting, and most cost-effective way to get our energy products to market.

We are united in ensuring its continued safe operation.

Seamus O’Regan Jr. is Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Mike Bradley is the Mayor of Sarnia