OTTAWA—Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) have issued a statement praising the federal government’s decision to invoke a 1977 treaty between Canada and the United States to keep oil flowing on the Line 5 pipeline through Michigan.
The dispute stems from a nearly year-old decision by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to revoke a 1953 easement to allow the pipeline to cross the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Whitmer cited environmental concerns about the impact a breach from the aging pipeline would have in the area and gave Enbridge six months to close it.
On Oct. 4, Canada told Michigan in a letter it was invoking the dispute mechanism in the 1977 Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America Concerning Transit Pipelines.
“Canada’s Building Trades Unions are fully in support of the Government of Canada’s actions to ensure the safe and continued operation of Enbridge’s Line 5 to protect thousands of jobs on both sides of the border,” stated CBTU executive director Sean Strickland in a release. “By invoking the 1977 Treaty, the Government of Canada has initiated a process that allows for them to negotiate directly with the Government of the United States.”
The CBTU statement said cancelling the easement for Line 5 will not only threaten Canada’s energy security and drive consumer prices higher, it will cost jobs.
The statement added, “From the petrochemical industry in Sarnia, Ont. to the refineries in Ohio and industries in Michigan and Quebec, the Building Trades annually work millions of man-hours to service and maintain industries supplied by Line 5. Over 30,000 jobs are expected to be lost if Line 5 is shut down.”