Canada invoked a 1977 treaty with the United States on Monday to force continued oil flow through the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline that runs throughout the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes. The treaty guarantees “uninterrupted transmission by pipeline” of hydrocarbons.
In November 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer revoked the easement agreement between Enbridge, a Canada-based company, and the state that allowed Enbridge to run its pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. Along with revoking the agreement, the state filed a complaint with the Michigan Circuit Court for the 30th Judicial Circuit in Ingham County. The case has since been moved to the Western District Court of Michigan, a federal court.
Whitmer stated that the pipeline put the Great Lakes and surrounding families at risk, and that Enbridge had repeatedly violated the terms of its easement agreement, which gave her the authority to revoke it.
Canada’s invocation of the treaty came during stalled mediation of the case. After four mediation meetings, the parties have failed to reach a settlement and the state has indicated that it has no interest in any further mediation efforts.