Enbridge says it remains committed to mediating the Line 5 dispute – .

Enbridge says it remains committed to mediating the Line 5 dispute – .

Nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the eastern section of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., June 8, 2017.

Dale G. Young/The Associated Press

The Canadian architect of the controversial Line 5 cross-border pipeline expansion project said on Friday he remained committed to finding a negotiated solution to his stalemate with the state of Michigan, even though the government has effectively pulled out. Table.

Both parties are required by court order to engage in good faith to resolve the dispute, and Enbridge Inc. “stands ready to do so,” the Calgary-based pipeline giant said in a statement.

“Our goal from the start has been to work cooperatively to reconcile interests, resolve disputes and move forward in the best interests of people across the region,” the company said.

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“We believe in the process and participated in good faith in the mediation. We are committed to continuing to seek resolution, whether through mediation or by asserting our rights in court if necessary. “

Line 5 transports more than 540,000 barrels per day of crude oil and natural gas liquids across the Canada-U.S. Border and the Great Lakes using a twin line that runs along the lake bed below the Straits of Mackinac, eco-sensitive, which connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Supporters call it a vital and indispensable source of energy – especially propane – for several Midwestern states, including Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and a key source of feedstock for critical refineries on the north side of the border, including those that supply jet fuel to some of Canada’s busiest airports.

However, critics, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, want the line closed, arguing it’s only a matter of time before an anchor or technical failure triggers an environmental disaster. catastrophic in one of the region’s most important watersheds.

That’s why last November, Whitmer brutally revoked the easement that had kept the pipeline running since 1953, giving the company until May to voluntarily cease operations and triggering a lawsuit that has dragged on since then.

Enbridge insisted from the outset that it had no intention of voluntarily shutting down the pipeline.

“We understand that the stakes in this case are important not only to Enbridge and the state, but to many others on both sides of the Canada-US border who have a vested interest in its outcome,” the company said.

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“Meanwhile, we will continue to safely and responsibly deliver the energy the region depends on from the Line 5 system.”

A voluntary, court-sanctioned mediation process, which began in April, has resulted in no agreement and appears to have collapsed, although the official status of those talks is difficult to guess.

Following the last meeting on September 9, the Michigan emissaries “communicated unequivocally to the mediator that any further mediation process would be unproductive for them, and that they have no” desire to continue the mediation process. “”, According to court documents.

Michigan District Court Judge Janet Neff, however, appears reluctant to end the process.

“Voluntary facilitation mediation necessarily requires the voluntary participation of both parties,” Neff said in a ruling last week that dismissed as moot one of the state’s motions to bypass talks.

The process, Neff wrote, “has at least stalled, although the parties remain under a continuing obligation to engage in good faith to resolve this matter.”

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Where that leaves it is not clear. The Michigan attorney general’s office declined to comment on Friday, referring media requests to court documents.

Enbridge also referred to a possible “diplomatic solution” under a 1977 Canada-U.S. Treaty covering cross-border pipelines, which the Canadian government supported applies in this case and requires the court to back down in favor of a negotiated bilateral settlement.

Environmental groups, meanwhile, have been unequivocal in their opposition to the pipeline and a potential replacement project.

Cathy Collentine, associate director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, said the US Army Corps of Engineers was conducting an environmental impact assessment of the Line 5 project. It would then be up to the White House to decide whether to take action based on the results, she said.

While President Joe Biden’s administration is serious about tackling climate change, the most controversial cross-border pipeline projects of the past 15 years – Keystone XL, Line 5 and also Line 3, another upgrade from Enbridge, the latter in Minnesota – are the ones they should be blocking, Hill said.

Such projects, with their ability to increase production and consumption of fossil fuels, are already affecting communities on the front lines of climate change, she said.

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“These are the exact projects that we’ve been saying for a long time that we can’t keep building, we can’t keep approving,” Collentine said.

“This is a time when the Biden administration, through these analyzes, we believe it should and hopefully see that this is also true and will not allow these projects to move forward or to continue to operate. “

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