Mr. Chair and members of the committee, I want to thank all of you and your respective caucuses for your leadership and support of Line 5. It has truly been a team Canada approach, and we are very appreciative of the support we have received.
I'm Vern Yu. I run our liquids pipelines business here at Enbridge, and I'm responsible for Line 5.
Enbridge is North America's largest energy delivery company. We deliver crude oil, natural gas and renewable power. Last year, we announced a series of ESG performance goals, including a detailed plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but I'm here today to talk about Line 5.
Let me be very clear. Our goal has always been to resolve the current dispute on Line 5 through negotiation or mediation. We believe it's in the best interests of both Canada and the United States to keep the pipeline running while we build the Great Lakes tunnel as fast as we can.
The stakes could not be higher. Line 5 is not just a pipeline. It's an economic lifeline for both Canada and the U.S. A disruption would impede access to the energy that's needed to run our economies. It would cause energy shortages and significantly impact the price of gasoline, diesel, propane, jet fuel, plastics and chemicals. Closure threatens thousands of good-paying jobs across both countries. Our roads, our railways and our seaways would see much greater environmental risks, with more trucks, more trains and more tankers attempting to replace Line 5.
Line 5 provides over 50% of the crude oil that's used in Ontario and Quebec. Line 5 feeds the Sarnia petrochemical complex, which plays a key role in providing propane and butane. The line also provides the feedstock for a very significant petrochemical industry in Montreal.
In the U.S., the products moved on Line 5 heat homes and businesses, fuel vehicles and planes, and power industry. In fact, Line 5 supplies 55% of Michigan's propane needs. It also fuels the economies of Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania, so a disruption to the operation of Line 5 would hurt economies on both sides of the border.
Terminating our 1953 easement, which allows the pipeline to cross the Straits of Mackinac is a clear violation of the Canada-U.S. transit pipeline treaty, which was signed in 1977. Enbridge and the State of Michigan are already working on a mutually agreed-upon solution.
The Great Lakes tunnel is a $500-million U.S. private investment to be made by Enbridge. The tunnel would bury the pipeline deep beneath the straits. While the current pipeline is safe and has operated incident-free for more than 65 years, the tunnel will make a safe pipeline even safer.
However, until we build the tunnel, the pipeline must stay open. Safety is not only a core value at Enbridge; it's the foundation to our business. We monitor the straits 24-7 using very specially trained staff and very sophisticated monitoring systems. The people who live, work and enjoy the waterways near our pipelines expect us to operate safely. This is our highest priority.
The tunnel represents an opportunity to modernize a critical energy asset with the latest technology while not only protecting good-paying union jobs and preserving North America's energy security, but also protecting the environment and enhancing safety. We believe a binational diplomatic solution can resolve this in a timely manner, allowing everyone to get back to building the tunnel.
On the Canadian side of the border, we believe that continuing to advance a team Canada approach is the best way to go forward, raising the importance of Line 5 at every available opportunity with the officials in the U.S. and underscoring the application of the transit pipeline treaty. We also request that 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.
Time is of the essence. We need to work together to ensure that both sides of the border continue to have a safe, affordable and reliable supply of energy.
Thank you again for your leadership on and continued support for Line 5.
We are proceeding along multiple avenues to keep the pipeline operating until we see the tunnel completed.
The first thing we're working on is to have, within the United States, the safety and reliability of the pipeline regulated by the U.S. federal government, which we believe is the proper form of regulation. The U.S. regulator, who is responsible for pipelines, has indicated numerous times that the pipeline is safe and fit for service, so I think it's very important for us to convince the U.S. federal government that is the proper way.
One of the things we're requesting of the Government of Canada is to provide support in our Federal Court filings, to ensure it's understood that this should be under federal jurisdiction. We will also ask the provinces to support the federal government in these assertions.
All that being said, obviously we would like to continue to work with the state, because we believe the pipeline is critical for the entire Great Lakes region—Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and other states—as well as for Ontario and Quebec. It's a matter of reinforcing the critical nature of this asset and of the energy security for the entire Great Lakes region.
Line 3 is a replacement project for a pipeline that was built in the late 1960s. In 2014 we got approval from the Canada Energy Regulator and our customers to go ahead and replace that pipeline in Canada. Then we've just recently gotten approval from the State of Minnesota to replace the portion of that line in that state.
It's a $10-billion project on both sides of the border. It provides the latest technology and significantly enhances the safety and reliability of that pipeline.
When we got approval to build the pipeline in Minnesota, it came with some very stringent environmental conditions regarding how we'd do that pipeline replacement. Those environmental conditions, coupled with the fact that we're building a pipeline in the winter as opposed to in the summer, have caused the cost of that pipeline to go up relatively significantly.
The costs were also impacted by the fact that there was about a two-year delay in the regulatory process, for multiple reasons, in the state of Minnesota. Obviously, time costs money. There were really three big factors that caused about a $1-billion cost increase for building a roughly 300-mile pipeline in the state of Minnesota: winter construction, regulatory environmental oversight and a two-year delay.
To be perfectly frank, we don't expect any court to shut the pipeline down in May. We don't see any avenue for how that can happen. We need to work through this U.S. federal court hearing and process, in the medium term, to make sure that doesn't actually happen.
In the future, should some court actually shut us down, we would be short crude oil and natural gas liquids for refineries in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, along with refineries in Ontario and Quebec. They would be immediately 50% short of the crude they need. We would see shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, propane and butane, such that those regions just wouldn't have enough.
In the longer term, people would have to figure out ways to move that replacement fuel by rail or truck. You would need to see thousands of trucks to replace the pipeline. We estimate that you would need to see 15,000 dedicated trucks per day to make that happen. You would need to see 800 extra railcars a day to see that happen. That is a very large logistical challenge.
The Detroit airport would not have enough jet fuel. Pearson International Airport would not have enough jet fuel. We would see some very significant challenges for people to live the life they're accustomed to today.
Thank you, Mr. Yu. You've been very helpful in terms of this study. As you can see, there's not a lot of daylight among and between the members or the parties. It feels a little like an echo chamber.
What's puzzling me is Governor Whitmer's position, which seems to be legally dubious at best. Even environmentally I can't quite understand the position that transfers crude from a pipeline to trucks. It's politically very difficult, because she must be making some enemies among her fellow governors. The legislature is controlled by the Republican Party. I'm a little puzzled by Governor Whitmer's position, given the difficulties that any potential shutdown, or even the threat of a shutdown, would create.
Can you make, for the committee, the governor's argument as to why this is a good idea?
That's something we've been trying to figure out for quite some time.
When she first came into power, we sat down with the governor and tried to brief her on what we were doing with the tunnel, on the operational reliability of the existing pipeline and on the incremental safety measures that we put in place to make sure the pipeline could remain safe while we went ahead and built the tunnel. We talked to her about how we have radar to track all the vessels that go over the pipeline and the straits, and how we hail every vessel that travels through the straits to make sure their anchors are pulled up so there is no inadvertent damage to the pipeline.
We've now put our own vessels on the water to make sure the incoming vessels abide by our safety protocols. We have cameras and other sophisticated equipment looking at the pipeline 24-7 to ensure we are absolutely safe. The pipeline can run at 600 pounds of pressure, but we run it at 150 pounds of pressure. The pipeline's walls are almost an inch thick, which is three or four times the regular wall thickness of pipelines that we run.
This is the most scrutinized piece of pipe in North America. It has the highest safety standards of any pipe in North America. It's the pipeline most reviewed by federal safety regulators in North America. We are abjectly confident that the pipeline is safe.
We're as perplexed as anyone with regard to the governor's motivations. Michiganders themselves support the tunnel. I think our latest polling shows that two-thirds of Michiganders support the Great Lakes tunnel.
I first want to thank the witness, Mr. Yu.
You've done a great job of meticulously explaining this issue in detail and, especially for my colleague Mr. Housefather's questions, almost to a legal degree on what you're facing down south.
What I want to know is, have you been getting full assistance from the federal government, especially on the embassy side, on anything you need from them? That would be my first question for you.
Second, how are you getting U.S. consumer groups or U.S. industry groups to support you on this? Obviously, you're a conduit—literally—to a lot of industries, whether it's natural gas, oil, heating or utilities. How supportive are they in your case in giving you some political backing, so that the people of Michigan and other surrounding areas know the consequences of their governor's actions?
Let me start with Canada. I've spoken to Ambassador Hillman. I've spoken to . I spoke to . I believe that our CEO, Mr. Monaco, has spoken to as well.
We've spoken to many people in the Canadian federal government. Everyone has told us that they are seized of this issue and that they will put all the effort they can into this file and make it well known to the U.S. federal government that this is a very important bilateral trade issue. It's important for us and this committee to continue to provide support so that the federal government continues to do what it does.
I've spoken to Premier Ford and Premier Legault directly about this particular pipeline. They are both very supportive of the actions that we're undertaking today and promise to continue to provide feedback to the federal government that this is a very important Canadian issue.
On the U.S. side, we have a very broad coalition of support within the state of Michigan and outside the state of Michigan. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is a hundred per cent behind us. The Detroit Regional Chamber is a hundred per cent behind us. The constituents of the upper peninsula of the state of Michigan, who rely a hundred per cent on Line 5 for the propane to heat the homes up there, are very much in our support.
The state legislature, the state senate, in Michigan is very supportive of Line 5 and the tunnel. In fact, at the end of last year, there was a vote in the House where three-quarters of the legislature were in support of the tunnel, and where many Democrats crossed the floor to support the tunnel. We are very actively continuing to work with people in the state of Michigan to ensure that there's as strong a support as we can have for the pipeline and the tunnel.
The state of Ohio is very critically interested, as Line 5 is critical to the numerous refineries that operate in that state, and the issues facing the state of Ohio are as great as the issues facing Ontario and Quebec. The Governor of Ohio and the attorney general of Ohio have indicated very strong support for both Line 5 and the tunnel.
We continue to build our coalitions. We continue to lobby the governor that this is a very important issue for Michiganders and all of the Great Lakes states and provinces.
Chair and honourable members, it's a pleasure to appear before the special committee on Canada-U.S. relations. Likewise, it's good to see some familiar faces from the international trade committee around the virtual room. The chamber looks forward to working with this committee at all stages of its work on Line 5 as well as on the other matters it will take up in future studies.
For those I have not met before, my name is Mark Agnew. I'm the vice-president, policy and international, at the Canadian chamber. I'll be splitting the opening remarks with my colleague, Aaron Henry.
Members of the committee know the importance of Line 5 to Canada's energy security and economic competitiveness. In conversation with our members on the priorities we need to advance in the North American context, energy issues are a foundational element. Foreign policy and international relations can seem abstract at times, but Line 5 is a tangible issue with a real impact on Canada, as we'll explain in a few moments. Although others have said it before, it is worth underscoring that Line 5 is not Keystone XL. We were disappointed to see Keystone XL's permit cancelled, yet Line 5 is materially different as a piece of infrastructure already in use.
Disputes between the closest of allies happen. Although ideally we would resolve our disputes through diplomacy and advocacy with U.S. decision-makers, history has shown that this is not always the case, as we've seen with softwood lumber. We welcome the government's efforts on this file, and encourage it to continue to make the case that Canadian and, importantly, American interests are well served with Line 5 in operation. However, it does on occasion become necessary to use treaty-based mechanisms to protect our interests, as we have seen with other bilateral irritants in the North American context.
I will now turn it over to my colleague, Aaron Henry, to discuss in more detail our views on the situation.
I'm going to jump right into it. Some of what I have to say is a reiteration of the last session.
In short, revoking the easement and shutting down Line 5 will create significant repercussions for the Canadian and U.S. economies. It will put a strain on Canada's transportation infrastructure and jeopardize North American energy security. There will be short-term implications and long-term implications.
Line 5 moves 540,000 barrels of fossil fuels a day through Canada and the U.S. It should come as no surprise that it generates significant economic benefits for both nations, to the tune of over $65 billion of direct revenue and $28 billion of indirect revenue in annual trade. It supplies central Canada with gasoline, jet fuel and heating fuel. The economic activity it generates in Sarnia alone supports 29,000 jobs directly and indirectly. It also delivers more than 50% of Michigan's propane demand and provides crude to key Midwestern refineries. Without it, both Canadians and Americans will face higher energy costs, temporary shortages and further economic pressure from the strain on our transportation systems.
There is no alternative to Line 5, as was said. Simply, the capacity to absorb the products moved through it does not exist. Looking at that range, up to 2,000 tanker trucks or 800 railcars a day would be needed to absorb the displaced product. Industry groups in the U.S. have warned that there is not capacity in the trucking industry in terms of drivers or trucks to absorb the propane that it ships, to say nothing of crude. It's a similar case in Canada.
What is absorbed through alternative measures will come with heavy costs. Canadians and U.S. commuters will face congestion, heavier traffic and greater safety risks. Companies that rely on rail to ship goods will face increased competition due to the shortages. In terms of economics, it will cost twice as much to transport fossil fuels by rail, and four times as much to do so using trucks.
I can't stress enough that Line 5 as interstate and international infrastructure is critical to North America's energy security. Our shared energy security is important, not only for the prosperity of our nations but also with regard to our shared climate ambitions. Losing Line 5 and relying on rail, tanker trucks and marine transport will greatly increase scope 3 emissions associated with Canadian energy products. By scope 3 emissions, I'm referring to the additional emissions that will occur if oil and gas products currently moved by Line 5 are instead moved by rail, tanker trucks and ships. This will undermine the efforts of both our nations to advance our ambitious climate targets. It will also force Enbridge to adjust its detailed plan to achieve net zero, which includes using hydrogen and renewable natural gas products. In the future, these fuels could potentially be blended with the natural gas products that move through Line 5 today.
Today Line 5 provides critical energy security for responsibly produced energy products. Tomorrow it could play a role in scaling decarbonization amongst the businesses and retail customers it serves.
The team Canada effort and support behind Line 5 are what we need to continue. We want to underscore that the future of Line 5 will shape North America's energy, economic and climate future. We encourage the federal government to continue its bilateral engagement with the Biden administration to seek a swift and amicable resolution. The scope of the issue and its impacted parties make this a matter of federal negotiation. Working together, we can make sure the shared interests of our nations come first.
Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.
The members of this committee and I share a singular focus. In my case, it takes up almost my entire professional life.
We all know that while Canada-U.S. relations are pretty sound and we enjoy all sorts of historical advantages, our business is not conducted to a soothing background chorus of Kumbaya. No, the relationship has always been guided by self-interest, and you know there have been times when our leaders didn't even like each other very much.
We don't have to wait for history's judgment to know that the past four years were a nadir, so to speak. We experienced a trade war. One of our members at the Canadian American Business Council is the A. O. Smith Corporation. It manufactures water heating and treatment equipment and was the target of trade retaliation by Canada, presumably because of its significant corporate presence in the home state of the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.
Yet despite all the chaos—or perhaps because of it—Canada ended up with a very good result out of the last four years. Canada emerged with a modernized, updated version of NAFTA. The deal is now the gold standard for the world.
Now, how could that have happened in such a tense and challenging time? The simple answer is that Canada recognized the power of economic self-interest and did an excellent job of leveraging it. When the president threatened to tear up NAFTA, Canada responded to the existential economic threat by going on the diplomatic equivalent of war footing. It focused on U.S. interests and made it exceedingly clear to members of Congress what the economic cost would be in their districts and states. Let's not forget: Canada is the number one customer for U.S. exports.
During the most intense periods of the trade negotiations, you could find no daylight between government and opposition, between feds and provinces, between unions and companies and public opinion. In the end, Canada came out the other side not just intact, but with an improved and enforceable trade agreement, blessed on both sides of the aisle in Congress.
Now we have a return to diplomatic normalcy. President Biden shares a certain amount of political vision with the of Canada, and most Canadians are comfortable with his values. Some in Canada are no doubt relieved. Maybe they think they can relax, or that the world is realigned on its axis, or that natural comity can be relied upon to ensure that economic security and happiness occur. That would be a mistake.
As you know, various statesmen have asserted that nations have no permanent friends, only interests. I like to think that what Canada and the United States share is friendship, but there is something to that quote. One need look no further south than Lansing, Michigan, right now. Last November, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that she was revoking the state's easement for Enbridge's continued safe operation of the Line 5 pipeline across the Straits of Mackinac, as you know, and of course, on his first day in office, President Biden killed KXL.
The difference is that KXL was under construction and still a work in progress. Line 5, on the other hand, has been safely delivering millions of gallons of Canadian crude oil and natural gas liquids to American and Canadian refineries for nearly 70 years.
I should pause here for a moment and make a disclosure. Enbridge is represented on the CABC board, and I do work for the Government of Alberta in Washington.
In any case, Line 5 supplies more than half the propane that Michiganders in both the upper and the lower peninsulas use to heat their homes and businesses each winter and to run their businesses throughout the year. The propane is also consumed throughout the region in Wisconsin and Ontario.
The jet fuel loaded onto planes at Pearson airport in Toronto, Trudeau airport in Montreal, Detroit Metropolitan airport and Pittsburgh International Airport comes from the crude that is transported through Line 5. So does a great deal of the gasoline sold at pumps in Ontario and Quebec.
Line 5 provides an essential service, period. has called its operation “non-negotiable”, but the fact is that Minister O'Regan has no jurisdiction in Michigan. Governor Whitmer has demanded that Line 5 be shut down by mid-May. Her attempted revocation of the easement and her attempt to shut down this pipeline are currently being argued before a U.S. federal court.
To Governor Whitmer, this is about protecting the environment, and I think it's fair to say that is a priority for Canada, too, and for the CABC. We and our members support carbon transition policy and the goal of reaching net zero by 2050. Canada and the United States are co-operating on multiple environmental initiatives—vehicle emissions, carbon capture and utilization, and methane reduction, to name a few—and there will be an important leaders' climate summit hosted by the White House on April 22.
However, economic self-interest remains any nation's immovable object. We are still reliant on oil and natural gas. The plain fact is that if Line 5 is closed down, Michiganders, Ohioans, Pennsylvanians, Ontarians and Quebeckers will find some other way to import the hydrocarbons they need to fuel everyday life. More barges and tanks loaded with crude will appear on the Great Lakes. More trucks full of crude will enter our highways.
As this committee knows, Line 5 at the straits has never leaked, and Enbridge is in the process of making it even safer. Governor Whitmer's own administration recently approved permits for Enbridge to route Line 5 through a concrete-lined subterranean tunnel that it intends to bore under the lake bed. We should not let energy projects with regional and international economic importance become litmus tests for anyone's allegiance to protecting the environment. Actually, there is simply no safer way to transport crude than by pipeline.
Meanwhile, Canada needs to keep thinking in war footing mode—yes, even in the Biden era—and not just to protect Line 5. We need regulatory harmonization if we are going to have the most effective economic rebound. We need to reopen the border as soon as vaccines make it safe to do so. We need agreements to collaborate on PPE manufacturing and vaccine distribution. Rather than competing, we have to co-operate. That is what's in the economic interest of our citizens.
Canada and the U.S. are at our best when we are arm in arm. We cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into suddenly thinking everything will be fine. Governor Whitmer has provided a wake-up call.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much to the witnesses. Those were fantastic remarks.
If I get to all three of my questions, great, but I have two specifically that I would like both witnesses to respond to, please.
The witness in the last panel spoke about how it's very much a one-way conversation. Michigan does all the talking, and apparently Ontario and Canada have to do all the listening. I find it very interesting that there's not more of a bilateral approach to this. As we all know, both economies rely so strongly on each other.
Take the auto assembly industry as an example. Chrysler is just outside my riding. I believe parts of a vehicle actually go back and forth on the busiest international bridge seven times before they're assembled to make one vehicle. That goes both ways: in Ontario—in Windsor-Essex—and in Michigan, downriver. That doesn't even include the supply chains and the manufacturers that go along with it.
To each of our witnesses, what economic impact do you see with regard to jobs and losing jobs, specifically with regard to Canada bleeding and hemorrhaging jobs out of our economy? What impact do you see?
I'm happy to jump in first, unless Ms. Greenwood would like to respond.
I think the way this would play out is that there would be both an immediate impact and a longer-term impact. The immediate impact comes down to the fact that at the moment, we have only 14 refineries in Canada that are capable of making gasoline. All together, five of those are impacted within either Line 5 or Line 9 in Quebec.
In that initial period where you've lost all that capacity from Line 5, where it's displaced, you're going to see costs increase for those refiners. You're going to see a lot of contingency plans and potential shortages and disruptions. All those things will disrupt the labour forces involved within that sphere of activity directly, and will probably have opportunity impacts as well.
Eventually, if we were in that sort of dire straits situation, a new supply chain would stabilize, but then you're going to see knock-on effects. You're going to find that the cost of fuel has gone up. The cost of jet fuel has gone up. The cost of heating homes in most of Quebec has gone up. All those things will have these knock-on impacts. It's sort of an initial disruption followed by what might be called a slow bleed.
The other thing I really want to put in context is that in some respects, as we are engaging in these policies to decarbonize and move forward, that has actually already put a lot of pressure on many of these different segments. For instance, our refiners right now are in the kind of world where they have to deal with massive disruption while they're also trying to plan to make significant upgrades to comply with the clean fuel standard. You're going to see a lot of capital required for all those steps.
If you take away that energy security at the critical moment, you're going to find that it carries impacts. You'll then find that those impacts also go throughout the entire value chain that Line 5 and Line 9 ultimately produce. That will be a long-term impact.
The important thing to think about is that for this project, the story isn't over yet. For me it's difficult to tell you the overall job impact. We don't quite know yet what will occur.
In the long run, a transition to a low-carbon economy is something that can create a lot of jobs. Whether you think about the transition to electric vehicles, to battery recycling, or to other sorts of things like that, there is an economic impact that is good for the environment and also positive from a jobs point of view. That's the needle that policy-makers in Canada, the United States and around the world are trying to thread.
The challenge with this is that if it were to just stop instantly, the impact would be pretty dramatic. People would make adjustments, but it would be pretty difficult if the governor, for example, were able to just turn off a pipeline.
That's not how our infrastructure works really. We have a system under which this is being challenged in the courts. The courts are going to say whether or not a single jurisdiction has the ability to thwart an interstate and international infrastructure project, so—
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to our witnesses. It's nice to see some familiar faces.
Just before this esteemed panel, we had the pleasure of hearing from Enbridge. During the testimony, we heard that there were very productive conversations between Enbridge and Premier Ford and between Enbridge and Premier Legault, and that both premiers were very supportive of the project and, of course, of Line 5. We heard similar things regarding the conversations between Enbridge and , , and other high-level officials from our government, and we certainly heard about the support of our government for keeping Line 5 in operation.
What we also heard from Enbridge—and I'm quoting here—is that they are looking and are very hopeful for “a mediated and negotiated diplomatic solution that takes us out of the hands of the court”.
I was wondering if I could have the comments of Ms. Greenwood in particular in terms of what the question really relates to, because in addition to all these government officials working hard on this case, of course, we know that the Detroit and Michigan chambers of commerce are also very much supportive of keeping Line 5 open.
My question is, how can you, as a chamber of commerce, work hand in glove with American chambers of commerce in order to achieve a successful “negotiated diplomatic solution” between our two countries?
It's a perfect question. We know critical minerals and rare earth elements are found almost everywhere in the world, but 80% are processed in China, so it's the processing—the actual value added that you're talking about—and Canada could own the market on that.
It would take a huge amount of investment. It would take collaboration with the U.S. to make sure you had an end-user for it, and it would take private capital coming in, so you'd need some certainty around your regulatory structure in order to attract the capital.
The huge opportunity in Canada is in terms of processing as opposed to mining. Canada is a resource economy, and obviously it knows how to mine. It has the infrastructure and all of that, but I completely agree that the value-add could occur in Canada—and more so in Canada, really, than in the United States. You have such a huge amount of space and you have plentiful, clean, green, renewable hydro power that makes the carbon impact of a relatively intensive process way less. There are all kinds of natural advantages Canada has, such as engineering, deep-water ports, railroads and an environmental commitment from a regulatory process, that make it the obvious choice.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you so much to the witnesses for being here today.
Our previous witness quantified Line 5 as “the most scrutinized piece of pipe in North America”. I want to get a better understanding of the urgency and the motivation behind the Michigan governor. Why now?
When I look at a quote she gave to Great Lakes Now in June 2019, she said that protracted litigation without the tunnel or another alternative would be the “worst case scenario”. I'm looking at the timeline. She said this in June 2019. She was elected in November 2018 and took office in January 2019. A third agreement between Enbridge and Michigan came to be in December.
I'm looking at this timeline. We see that there was a temporary restraining order in June 2020. It was then lifted to restart Line 5 in July and September. Then, on November 7, the media calls the election for President Biden and, six days later, the governor issues the order on its easement.
I'm trying to get an understanding of why now, when this tunnel is under construction and is due to be opened in 2024. Why now? Given the consequences on both sides of the border, whether it be access to crude or whether it be jobs, why now? It's helpful for us to understand this so that we can make sure we are conveying our position as well.
Exactly. I'm just trying to make sure I'm understanding you correctly, Ms. Greenwood, so thank you.
We have talked a bit about the treaty. I understand that then governor Biden voted in favour of the treaty in 1977. It's not something, obviously, we want to use. We hope we can get some diplomatic solution to this. Obviously, this is before the courts. We will be doing the team Canada approach, as you suggested, because we need to make sure that until that tunnel is built, we cannot have the flow stopping.
I want to pivot a bit now, Ms. Greenwood. You mentioned the North American rebound initiative, which I've been reading a bit about, and buy North American. I want to talk a little about opportunities. We see very clearly what we need to do with Line 5, but we also have economic recovery. Can you spend the next minute and a half talking about buy North American and why we need to be focusing on that?
From the outset, I have been missing something here.
First, there are environmental concerns. We heard the governor of Michigan say that some supports exceeded the 75-foot requirement, that the pipe wall was not thick enough, and that, in her view, Enbridge wasn't meeting all sorts of conditions. Enbridge responded that everything was fine.
Why has this not been resolved?
I'm missing something here. It's not up for debate. This is about science, not opinions.
Have certain conditions not been met, yes or no? This should not be up for debate, it should have been cleared up.
How is it that the issue has not yet been resolved?
How can there be a legal dispute over matters of fact and science?