Line 5 shutoff would have ‘devastating effects’ for Eastern Ontario

(St. Lawrence Corridor/Facebook via Newswatch Group)

BROCKVILLE – A business recruiter and job creation group for seven Leeds-Grenville municipalities is warning a potential shut down of an oil pipeline will have “devastating effects” on the regional economy and Eastern Ontario.

In an open letter to the prime minister, the St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Development Commission is calling on Justin Trudeau to make the issue of Line 5 a priority.

Enbridge Line 5 is a major pipeline that delivers crude oil from western Canada to eastern Canada through the Great Lakes.

The commission says Enbridge Line 5 delivers just over half a million barrels of crude oil to Ontario and Quebec. It could be shut down on May 12 after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer moved to revoke a 1953 easement for operating the pipeline in her state.

Enbridge Energy is pushing back and has asked a U.S. federal judge to dismiss the governor’s demands, according to Michigan Public Radio.

“Simply put, this line is critical for our daily lives and shutting it down will mean there won’t be enough fuel to look after our needs from personal driving, transportation of groceries and goods, heating fuel and the fuel needs of industry and farms,” chairman David Beatty and vice chairman Shelley Bacon said in the letter.

“More ships in the St. Lawrence Seaway (carrying oil) hardly feels like an environmental victory!”

The commission believes the pipeline issue “imperils our safe and reliable energy security,” and will scare away potential businesses from locating in Eastern Ontario. It will also require existing businesses to come up with costly contingency plans for energy.

The St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Development Commission represents the interests of seven partner municipalities: The City of Brockville, the Town of Prescott, and the townships of Augusta, Edwardsburgh-Cardinal, Elizabethtown-Kitley, Leeds and the Thousand Islands and Front of Yonge.