The Biden administration’s systematic dismantling of America’s fossil fuel-energy infrastructure is getting a helping hand from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D), who wants to shut down a crucial and oil and natural gas liquids pipeline, a step that would deprive the Wolverine State, Wisconsin, and eastern Canada of much-needed heating and transportation fuel as winter fast approaches.
Whitmer has long had it in for Line 5, which transports oil and natural gas liquids from Alberta east, where some of these resources are offloaded in Wisconsin and Michigan, before going on to Sarnia, Ontario. In November 2020, Whitmer unilaterally revoked the easement allowing the pipeline to operate and ordered its owner to cease all operations by May 2021. The Canadian-owned company that operates Line 5 refused, arguing that only the federal government has jurisdiction to take such a step. Canada has invoked a 1977 treaty contending that closing the pipeline without Ottawa’s consent is illegal.
Help, however, may not be coming from Washington. Rather than honoring the 1977 treaty, which was signed during the Carter administration, the White House has let it be known that it is “studying” Whitmer’s scheme to kill the pipeline. That should surprise no one. This is the same White House that cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this year that would have brought crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
More Tough Love on the Way
Whitmer, whose COVID-19 lockdown policies were among the most severe in the nation, will be treating Michiganders with more tough love when it comes to their energy use.
“Families would be hardest hit, since Michigan uses more residential propane than any other state,” Jason Hayes, director of environmental policy at the Midland, Mich.-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, wrote in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 13-14). “Line 5 provides nearly two-thirds of the supply in the Upper Peninsula and more than half of statewide propane use. The residential price for propane has already increased 38% since winter 2020-21. Michigan’s own research shows that closing Line 5 would lead to a nearly 60% jump in prices, depending on location. Regional natural gas and gasoline prices would surely rise as well, despite already being up 48% and 56%, respectfully, compared with last year.”
Whitmer and the Biden White House have provided no alternatives to the propane and gasoline that will not be delivered if Line 6 is shut down. Indeed, killing the pipeline will only exacerbate the region’s already severe supply-chain problems, along with the loss of up to 34,000 jobs and nearly $21 billion in economic activity. Anyone who thinks that wind turbines and solar panels are going to ride to the rescue of Michigan’s families and businesses is delusional. Europe’s deepening energy crisis with its acute natural gas shortage shows where reliance on renewable energy can lead.
In making the case for closing Line 5, Whitmer has pointed to the potential of a spill along the 4 ½-mile stretch of the pipeline that runs on the lake bottom of the Mackinac Straights. But this could easily be taken care of by putting an underwater concrete tunnel in the straights in which the pipeline would be encased. The project has bipartisan support in the Michigan Legislature, would be in compliance with state and federal environmental laws, and would all but eliminate the possibility of a spill.
But Whitmer will have none of it. Her and the White House’s goal is to save the planet, not to provide ordinary people with the necessities of life.
In outlining the Biden administration’s climate goals, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm – a former Michigan governor, no less – has said this will involve “sacrifices.” But it won’t be Granholm, Whitmer, Biden, and their cronies who will be making the sacrifice. You will.