Canada would beryllium apoplectic if the US authorities marched into a Canadian tribunal and argued that the state of Ontario has zero authorization implicit an American institution operating an aging, corroded pipeline nether Canada’s pristine Georgian Bay. Yet this is the nonstop attack Canada is taking successful US courts by arguing that the authorities of Michigan has zero authorization to bid the shutdown of an aging and unsafe pipeline operated by a Canadian institution nether the Straits of Mackinac – wherever immoderate spill would person catastrophic ramifications for the Great Lakes.
Canada’s strained presumption is premised connected ignoring the plain substance of the 1977 US Canada Pipeline Treaty: “Pipeline[s] shall beryllium taxable to regulations by the due governmental authorities … with respect to specified matters arsenic the following: (a) pipeline information … ; (b) biology protection.”
Canada’s arguments disregard the failing information grounds of the Pipeline’s owner, Enbridge: successful 2010 different of Enbridge’s pipelines burst, leaving Michigan suffering with the costliest inland pipeline spill successful US history. Moreover, Canada’s lawsuit besides omits the existent information of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, which has suffered from astir 7 decades of anchor strikes and utmost deep-water currents successful a engaged shipping lane.
While contested interests betwixt the 2 countries are not rare, this Pipeline 5 altercation is antithetic successful 2 ways. First, Canada is demonstrating bonzer gall successful asserting that a authorities cannot question adjudication successful US national oregon authorities courts. Second, the US authorities has not taken a presumption overtly defending 1 of its state’s sovereign interests successful this dispute.
Hyper-sensitive to Canadian pipeline politics, the Trudeau authorities has not earnestly considered sensible argumentation changes that could support the Great Lakes, code Canadian economical interests and respond to rising clime threats. Instead, the premier curate has staked retired an environmentally and legally reckless position, 1 that volition beryllium robustly challenged by some Michigan and the Indigenous nations whose rights and stewardship of the Great Lakes agelong predate the pipeline.
To debar work and blasted for a horrific Great Lakes lipid spill, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indispensable enactment Great Lakes extortion earlier authorities and unneurotic clasp the overdue Line 5 shutdown. If Trudeau refuses to join, Biden should workout singular enactment and clarify his enactment for Whitmer’s well-reasoned shutdown order. Doing truthful earlier the Cop26 gathering successful Glasgow would springiness Biden sorely needed planetary credibility.
In the pipeline business, everything is ever “safe” – until the time it isn’t. A monolithic wintertime rupture successful the comparatively confined caller waters of Lakes Michigan and Huron would marque California’s caller Huntington Beach rupture into the immense waters of the Pacific Ocean look similar a specified footnote.
Lana Pollack was appointed by President Obama to seat the US Section of the International Joint Commission. The IJC was established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to assistance the US and Canadian governments successful managing and protecting waters shared by the 2 countries. The views expressed are Pollack’s, not those of the IJC