Biden Admin Battles Another Canadian Oil Export Pipeline | Rigzone



(Bloomberg) – A small coastal town in Maine has garnered support from the Biden administration in its fight against a Canadian oil pipeline, which environmentalists see as a signal that other pipelines could suffer similar treatment.

In a brief filed Monday with the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal government said that an order from South Portland that would effectively prevent exports of crude by prohibiting the transfer of crude to ships no is not preempted by federal laws.

This picturesque town on the Atlantic is the injection point of a rarely used WWII pipeline that transports crude from the coast of Maine to refineries in the Montreal area. Portland Pipe Line Corp, currently wholly owned by Suncor Energy Inc., has been trying to turn the tide for more than a decade in order to be able to export Canadian crude to overseas markets. But the city is seeking to prevent the reversal amid fears that the export of crude oil could threaten waterways and air quality.

Environmentalists say the administration’s record in support of South Portland indicates that the Biden administration cannot stand in the way of other local authorities battling the pipelines through local ordinances.

“The Biden administration has emphasized in a new legal file that federal law does not override a state or locality’s decision regarding the location of an oil pipeline,” the National Wildlife Federation said in a statement. .

In a fight against another Canadian oil company, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has attempted to shut down an Enbridge Inc. pipeline that crosses the Great Lakes by revoking an easement for the line at a time when the company is seeking to build. a tunnel under the strait. from Mackinac. Supporters argue Michigan lacks the power to shut down the pipeline.

In response to similar arguments made by Portland Pipe Line against the South Portland ordinance, the federal government said Congress “explicitly limited” the ability of the Pipeline Safety Act to preempt local authority.

“The Biden administration file refutes the far-fetched claim that Enbridge Energy and its political allies have repeatedly said Governor Whitmer’s historic decision to shut down Line 5 was not his own,” said Oday Salim, lawyer from the staff of the National Wildlife Federation, A release.

The Maine Pipeline and Line 5 cases are “radically different,” Enbridge said in an emailed statement. “The problem in the Maine case is related to the loading of ships, not the transportation of oil by pipeline. Line 5 continues to safely transport the energy on which consumers, refiners and manufacturers in the United States and Canada depend.

An email to Suncor requesting comment was not returned.

President Joe Biden took office seeking a focus on tackling climate change. On day one, he canceled a permit issued by his predecessor to build the Keystone XL pipeline and re-integrated the United States into the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Maine pipeline, once a key conduit for oil to reach Canadian refineries, has been in gradual decline for years, with flows falling to 4,850 barrels per day last year, from 32,239 barrels per day in 2016 , based on data from the Canada Energy Regulator.

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