“Enbridge will continue to deliver via Line 5 safe, reliable and affordable energy to fuel the region’s economies,” the Canadian pipeline giant said in an emailed statement Wednesday. The company had previously pledged to keep the pipeline running.
In November, Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an order that gave Enbridge until Wednesday to shut Line 5, arguing that the pipeline threatens the Great Lakes because it crosses along the bed of the Mackinac Strait. Enbridge appealed the decision and the case is now both before a federal judge and in court-ordered mediation. The state won’t enforce shutdown of pipeline without a decision by a state court, Lynsey Mukomel, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Attorney General, said by email.
“Our action will be through the courts,” she said. “We cannot proceed until jurisdiction is resolved because we do not believe the federal court has jurisdiction to issue such an order.”
Line 5 supplies light oil and natural gas liquids to U.S. Midwest states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Shutting the pipeline would require tens of thousands of trucks and hundreds of rail cars to transport oil and fuel by road, Enbridge has warned. Homeowners that rely on propane to warm their homes in Michigan could see prices increase. Airports in Detroit and Toronto receive jet fuel from local refineries supplied by Line 5.
A shutdown of Line 5 “raises substantial federal and international questions relating to interstate and international commerce,” which is why the case is before a federal judge and mediation has been ordered, Enbridge said.