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Why This Matters: This ongoing battle sheds light not only on the potential dangers of pipelines, but on the political dynamics between allied nations, and how decades-old policy still impacts their ability to curb fossil fuel use and environmental threats. The US has invoked the treaty before to ensure pipelines were able to transport oil from Alaska to the continental US, and Canadian officials say it would be hypocritical for the US to argue against the treaty now. This argument raises the question: how much should the nation’s fossil fuel history impact its energy future? And is hypocrisy on part of the US necessary to achieve net-zero emissions and protect ecosystems?
Under the Lakes
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and local Indigenous communities have asserted that a section of the Line 5 pipeline — that runs beneath the Great Lakes — could present a grave danger to the delicate ecosystems of the Straits of Mackinac. The 70-year-old pipeline carries millions of barrels of crude oil every day, and any breach could cause irreparable damage. This isn’t the only Enbridge pipeline to face protest from Indigenous communities; the Line 3 pipeline extension in Minnesota has been vehemently protested since its approval in 2015, and successfully began carrying tar sands just this week.
In May, Governor Whitmer ordered the pipeline to be shut down, but Enbridge refused to comply. Since then, court-ordered mediation talks have ensued, but now, those talks are falling apart as parties are unable to come to a compromise or solution. Canadian officials are particularly frustrated by Biden’s absence in the quarrel. “While Biden may want to duck the issue to please [Whitmer] and keep the environmentalists in the Democratic caucus on side, the fact is that the treaty guarantees uninterrupted pipeline transit, except in exceptionally grave emergencies,” said Lawrence Herman, an international trade lawyer and a fellow at the CD Howe Institute.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Late last week, President Biden and a critical mass of Democrats in the Senate and House agreed on the details of Build Back Better legislation — a $1.85 trillion overall investment that includes a record-setting $555 billion dollars to take on the climate crisis. The agreement marked a […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Top executives from Big Oil companies ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and Shell testified before Congress yesterday amid accusations and revelations about their industry’s efforts to mislead the public about human-caused climate change while claiming to be in favor of climate action. A report released Thursday morning by the House Committee […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer As the world gets ready for COP26 in Glasgow next week, many nations are upping their pledges to lower emissions before 2030. But according to a UN report released Tuesday, even if Argentina, Britain, Canada, the EU, South Africa, and the US achieve their pledged goals, it would account […]
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