By Paul Vieira


OTTAWA--Canada said Thursday it was prepared to do whatever is necessary to save Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5 pipeline, which the state of Michigan has ordered shut down because of the risk of a spill in the Great Lakes.

Line 5 carries more than half a million barrels of oil and natural-gas liquids each day from Superior, Wis., to Sarnia, Ontario, and part of the corridor runs under the Straits of Mackinac, between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. In November, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she was revoking Enbridge's permit, arguing the Calgary pipeline operator violated public trust and cited "the unreasonable risk" the pipeline poses to the Great Lakes. She gave the company until May 12 to shut the pipeline.

Seamus O'Regan, Canada's natural resources minister, said the country is pursuing every legal option to keep the pipeline operating. Shutting it down would pose a serious risk to Canada's energy security and lead to thousands of job losses on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border, he said.

"A shutdown of Line 5 would have profound consequences in Canada and the U.S," he told lawmakers at a Canadian legislative committee examining relations between the U.S. and Canada. "We are fighting for Line 5 on every front. ... We will be absolutely prepared and ready to intervene at the precise moment." He declined to elaborate on the government's legal strategy.

Local officials in Canada have warned the pipeline's closure would push up prices for gasoline, home heating oil, and jet fuel supplied to Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

Mr. O'Regan added Line 5's closure could force the shutdown of two refineries in Toledo, Ohio, and cause a daily propane shortage in Michigan of about 750,000 gallons.

He said he spoke this week to newly confirmed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm -- a former governor of Michigan and born in Canada -- about the fate of the project. "I expressed to her the serious threats to our energy security."

The Line 5 row is the latest point of friction between the U.S. and Canada over a pipeline. On his first day in office, President Biden revoked Keystone XL's permit, hence shutting down the construction on the project that envisaged carrying western Canadian crude oil to refineries in the Gulf Coast.

Mr. O'Regan said Thursday the Liberal government remained "very disappointed" about Keystone's fate.


Write to Paul Vieira at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 04, 2021 18:40 ET (23:40 GMT)

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