Biden is considering shutting down another pipeline


Word that the Biden administration was quietly studying the potential market impact of killing the Line 5 pipeline, first reported by POLITICO, set off a firestorm of criticism from Republicans saying the move would worsen the spike that has already driven propane prices up 50 percent from a year ago just as Michigan residents — the nation’s biggest consumers of the fuel — stock up for cold weather. Propane is stripped out of the line at the small port city of Escanaba to help feed supplies to communities in the state’s Upper Peninsula.


As we enter the winter months and temperatures drop across the Midwest, the termination of Line 5 will undoubtedly further exacerbate shortages and price increases in home heating fuels like natural gas and propane at a time when Americans are already facing rapidly rising energy prices, steep home heating costs, global supply shortages, and skyrocketing gas prices,” Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and a dozen other congressional lawmakers representing the region said in letter to Biden on Nov. 4.


But equal pressure is coming from from environmental groups and Native tribes to back Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in her fight to shut the pipeline down. The groups say a potential oil spill from the 70-year-old pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac would devastate the Great Lakes and Michigan’s coastal economies — a concern that grew after the lines were damaged by an anchor strike in 2018.


“Given the strength and oscillation of the currents, over 700 miles of Lake Michigan and Huron shoreline would face serious contamination” in case of a spill, a group of 12 tribal nations wrote in their own Nov. 4 letter to Biden. “In contrast to Canada’s vocal support of [pipeline owner] Enbridge, and despite what we understand to be the Governor’s requests for help, your Administration has thus far been silent regarding Line 5.”


The Canadian government is also applying heat. Conservative Party members in the country’s government, already irked by Biden pulling the crucial permit for the Keystone XL pipeline before it could even be built, have said shutting down the Line 5 pipeline would require 2,100 rail cars to deliver the oil from Superior, Wis., to the Imperial Oil refinery in Sarnia, Ontario, just across the U.S. border.





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