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UPDATE 1-Enbridge asks Canadian government to champion oil pipeline in dispute with Michigan

· 03/16/2021 16:37
UPDATE 1-Enbridge asks Canadian government to champion oil pipeline in dispute with Michigan

Adds quote from Enbridge executive, background

By Nia Williams

- Enbridge Inc ENB.TO asked the Canadian government on Tuesday to "use every pathway" to champion its Line 5 oil pipeline in a dispute with the state of Michigan, which has ordered it to shut down over concerns it could leak into the Great Lakes.

Enbridge is also asking Ottawa to provide support for its U.S. federal court filings on Line 5, Vern Yu, Enbridge executive vice president of liquids pipelines, told a parliamentary committee.

Line 5 delivers 540,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined products to Ontario via Michigan, and is a crucial part of the pipeline network supplying Midwest and eastern Canadian refineries.

A 4-mile (6.4-km) stretch of Line 5 runs along the lakebed of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lakes Michigan and Huron, and environmentalists have long been concerned the 68-year-old pipeline could leak.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer last year revoked the easement allowing the pipeline to run along the lakebed and ordered it to shut down by May. Enbridge is challenging that order in U.S. federal court.

The Canadian government said this month it would look at all options to keep Line 5 operating, including invoking the 1977 Transit Pipelines Treaty, which provides for the unimpeded flow of petroleum products in pipelines linking the United States and Canada. nL2N2L23AL

"We request the government of Canada use every pathway to assert that Line 5 is an important binational pipeline protected by the treaty, whose shutdown would have grave impacts for both the United States and Canada," Enbridge's Yu said.

(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)

((nia.williams@thomsonreuters.com; +1 403 531 1624; Reuters Messaging: nia.williams.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))