Republicans Renew Criticism Of Efforts To Shut Key Oil Pipeline Amid Energy Crisis

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FILE PHOTO: Deer gather at a depot used to store pipes for the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline in Gascoyne

Republicans Renew Criticism Of Efforts To Shut Key Oil Pipeline Amid Energy Crisis

Thomas Catenacci on March 21, 2022

  • Republicans have renewed pressure on the State of Michigan to reverse course on its attempts to shut down Line 5, an operational oil pipeline that supplies much of the Midwest with energy.
  • Line 5, which was built in 1953, carries about 540,000 barrels of oil and gas per day from Canada to Michigan, according to the pipeline’s operator, Enbridge.
  • “Line 5 is absolutely essential for not only northern Ohio, but also for Michigan,” Republican Ohio Rep. Bob Latta, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “When you look at it, it’s over 540,000 barrels of product that goes through it a day and it has a $5 billion economic impact into our area.”

Republicans have renewed pressure on the State of Michigan to reverse course on its attempts to shut down Line 5, an operational oil pipeline that supplies much of the Midwest with energy.

The GOP leaders argued that Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer should halt her effort to shutter the pipeline in light of the Ukraine crisis which has threatened a “global oil supply shock.” Since Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine, oil prices skyrocketed above $100 per barrel, touching $120 per barrel at one point, and gasoline prices have hit record levels nationwide.

“Let’s get real, the last thing this nation needs is to choke off even more domestic energy production which will push gas prices even higher,” Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Yes, Line 5 needs to be replaced. Shutting it down, however, would cause real economic havoc.”

“Proceeding with replacement rather than shutting it down is the proper safe approach to protect the Great Lakes and our consumers,” he continued.

 

Line 5, which was built in 1953, carries about 540,000 barrels of oil and gas per day from Canada to Michigan, according to the pipeline’s operator, Enbridge. The pipeline provides energy to several Midwestern states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.

The pipeline transports 4.2-7.8 million gallons of refined products to Michigan per day, including the majority of the state’s propane supply. Shutting Line 5 would lead to refineries in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania receiving about 45% less crude oil leading to a 14.7-million-gallon-per-day shortage of gas, diesel and jet fuel in the region, according to Enbridge.

But in late 2020, Whitmer revoked a 1953 easement allowing Enbridge to operate pipelines in the state after asking the company to halt operations over environmental concerns. Enbridge then filed a federal lawsuit against Whitmer, arguing that the authority to regulate international pipelines was given to the federal government.

“Line 5 is absolutely essential for not only northern Ohio, but also for Michigan,” Republican Ohio Rep. Bob Latta, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the DCNF in an interview. “When you look at it, it’s over 540,000 barrels of product that goes through it a day and it has a $5 billion economic impact into our area.”

“If we don’t have Line 5, we’re in serious trouble and, again, what you’re looking at is really the governor’s activism up in Michigan,” he said, noting the global energy supply crisis.

Latta previously slammed the Biden administration after it announced it began a review of the potential economic impacts of closing Line 5 in November 2021. He and a dozen other lawmakers wrote a letter to the White House at the time, urging it to keep the pipeline operational to avoid high energy costs for consumers in the region.

In October 2021, meanwhile, the Canadian government invoked a 1977 treaty between the two nations, prohibiting action that impedes U.S.-Canada pipelines. Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau said the nation’s government contacted the White House about “fully respecting” the treaty.

“With what’s going on with Russia and Ukraine, I think the world is learning right now that we can’t be dependent on other nations for the supply of our oil and gas who are adversarial to us,” Republican Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted told Fox News on Monday. “We can work with nations who are allies — in this case, with Canada and Line 5 — but Michigan is being unreasonable and irresponsible with their actions.”

“You see the consequence of higher fuel prices on public opinion and on the lives of working-class Americans,” Husted said, according to Fox News.

Michigan Republicans passed a resolution in the state’s House of Representatives that called for greater domestic oil production and the continued operations of Line 5, Michigan Live reported.

“The energy independence of the United States is critical to national security,” the bill stated. “Reliance on foreign oil has impacted the United States’ ability to intervene in conflicts around the world, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

“Reliance on foreign sources of energy creates a potential risk that those sources could be jeopardized by United States’ actions abroad, which could limit our ability to project American values,” it continued.

Whitmer’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect comments from Republican Michigan Rep. Fred Upton.

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