Line 5 dispute sparks fears in Sarnia, Ont., where jobs depend on pipeline
TORONTO -- Thousands of people in an Ontario city will be directly affected by a shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had given Enbridge until Wednesday to shut down the pipeline, but so far Enbridge has refused, and it could take a court order to get it to.
Families in Sarnia, Ont. rely on the work generated from the pipeline to remain in the city. Ashley Durley, a single mother and pipefitter, will have to leave to find work elsewhere if the pipeline halts.
“Very stressful, very worried. I don’t honestly know what I would do,” she told CTV News.
Her family has lived in Sarnia and relied on Line 5 for generations.
“I grew up here, my mom grew up here, my grandma grew up here,” she said.
While Whitmer and Indigenous people say that there’s an environmental risk, particularly if there’s an oil spill, residents of Sarnia rely on the pipeline for work, and the mayor isn’t happy with Whitner’s response to Enbridge.
“it was something out of Alice in Wonderland. One hand, the pipeline and the product in it is bad, on the other hand, you want a cut,” Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley told CTV News.
The other option for transporting fuel across the border would be to send it by land, which would see up to 2,000 trucks per day crossing the border.
“The irony isn’t lost on me that those 2,000 tank trucks a day, while they’re waiting to cross the bridge, are idling in the governor’s backyard, they’re idling in Michigan,” Jason McMichael, President of the Sarnia and District Labour Council, told CTV News.
While Line 5 continues to run beyond the deadline, residents in Sarnia remained worried about the lasting impacts if it does get shut down.
“Everything is just going to dry up and blow away, it’s not reasonable to expect this town to survive without Line 5,” Scott Archer, business agent of the UAL 663 pipefitters union, told CTV News.