The Enbridge site in Sarnia. June 2021. (BlackburnNews file photo)The Enbridge site in Sarnia. June 2021. (BlackburnNews file photo)

Sarnia's Mayor welcomes stance from Biden administration on Line 5

Sarnia's mayor is encouraged to see the Biden administration is arguing against shutting down portions of Enbridge's Line 5 oil pipeline.

The opinion was included in an amicus brief on transit pipelines between Canada and the United States.

Mayor Mike Bradley said the position is welcome.

"I wish it was stronger," said Bradley. "It's taken a long time to get them to that position to make a public announcement."

"Two years ago I was working with the federal government, with ministers at the federal level, who were pressing them to move forward and say something," Bradley added. "They've taken their time, but they're now finally saying that there's an international interest involving Canada and there could be severe consequences to the relationship between Canada and the United States if the line shuts down."

Bradley hopes the stance could influence change from fellow Democratic Party member Gretchen Whitmer, who has continually tried to shut down the pipeline over safety concerns.

"I wish it would have a ripple effect on the Governor of Michigan, who for over five years has repeatedly been defeated on this issue in the courts, whether it's a state or a federal issue," he said. "Now they have the federal government that also has a cabinet minister that was a former Governor of Michigan saying, 'no, this is in the national interest and international relations to protect this pipeline.' That is a victory in itself."

Jennifer Granholm, the 47th Governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2021.

Bradley hopes the issue is resolved in the next six months.

"Of course the big concern is with American politics and a presidential election later this year," Bradley said. "Will the landscape change and will Line 5 and keeping it open become a major issue, or will a different government take a different direction on Line 5 and not protect it."

Bradley said he'll be pushing Ottawa to keep the pressure up.

Line 5, which runs between Superior, Wisconsin and Sarnia, carries crude oil and natural gas liquids used in propane to industries in the city, and elsewhere in the province and Quebec. In the past Enbridge said Line 5 will continue to operate safely while it focuses on plans to construct a 6.4-kilometre tunnel to replace the lines beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

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