Enbridge Line 5: Canada says talks with US will begin soon


On Wednesday, Ottawa said formal talks between Canada and the United States over a disputed Michigan water pipeline would begin soon, the latest development in a deteriorating bilateral relationship.

Last month, Canada invoked a 1977 treaty with the United States to trigger negotiations over Enbridge Inc’s Route 5, which Michigan wants to close for environmental reasons.

The governor of Michigan said on Tuesday that she would dismiss the lawsuit against the pipeline in federal court, clearing the way for a separate lawsuit in state court. Canada’s foreign ministry said the move did not affect negotiations under the 1977 treaty.

“We expect formal negotiations to begin soon,” ministry spokeswoman Clara Trudeau said by email, noting that “Canada has consistently supported the safe continuation of Line No. 5 and elevate it with the American government at every level.”

The treaty has never been invoked before.

Route 5 ships 540,000 barrels per day of raw and refined products from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. Michigan ordered the closure in May over concerns a leak could develop in a four-mile stretch that runs beneath the Mackinac Strait in the Great Lakes.

Enbridge ignored Michigan’s orders and the parties became embroiled in a legal battle.

Commerce Secretary Mary Ng will raise the issue during three days of talks in Washington this week, her office said.

She will also discuss irritants such as US tariffs on Canadian software lumber and plans to reduce US tariffs on domestically produced electric vehicles.

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