Canada Formally Invokes 1977 Pipeline Treaty With United States Over Line 5 Dispute

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General view of the Imperial Oil refinery, located near the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, which Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered to shut down in May 2021, in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, March 20, 2021 Photo taken on March 20, 2021. REUTERS / Carlos Osorio / File Photo / File Photo

CALGARY, Alta., Oct.4 (Reuters) – Canada officially invoked a 1977 treaty with the United States on Monday to demand bilateral negotiations on Enbridge Inc’s Line 5 (ENB.TO), exacerbating a long-standing dispute on one of Canada’s major oil exports. pipelines.

Line 5 ships 540,000 barrels per day of crude and refined products from Superior, Wis. To Sarnia, Ont., But the State of Michigan has ordered Enbridge to shut it down over fears that a leak may occur. develops in a four mile section passing under the strait. of Mackinac in the Great Lakes.

Enbridge has ignored the Michigan order and the parties are embroiled in a legal battle. The Government of Canada has pushed its counterparts in the United States to intervene, and Monday’s decision marks a milestone in Ottawa’s efforts to help protect the pipeline. Read more

In a letter to the federal judge presiding over the case, Gordon Giffin, legal counsel to the Canadian government, said Canada had formally invoked Article Six of the 1977 Transit Pipeline Treaty.

The treaty has never been invoked before.

Line 5 is governed by the provisions of the 1977 agreement, which guarantees the uninterrupted transit of light crude oil and natural gas liquids between the two countries, Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement. .

“Today, Canada officially invokes the dispute settlement provision of the 1977 Agreement to ensure its full implementation,” said Garneau.

The US State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Section Six is ​​the process the treaty uses to resolve disputes, and Giffin’s letter asked the court to stay any proceedings related to Michigan’s Line 5 shutdown order while it is pending, a decision criticized by environmental activists.

“The Government of Canada today took action that ignores the risk of an oil spill in the Great Lakes and appears clearly designed to delay a legal decision to shut down Enbridge’s sister Line 5 pipeline in the Strait of Mackinac, ”said Sean McBrearty, coordinator for Environmentalists Oil & Water Don’t Mix.

Earlier this year, Enbridge and Michigan took part in court-ordered mediation, but Enbridge spokeswoman Tracy Larsson said Michigan has said it is not committing to prosecute the claims. talks.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of ‘Team Canada’ – from the Government of Canada to the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan for their commitments and efforts to keep Line 5 open,” said she said in an email.

Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by David Gregorio

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