Biden might close Michigan pipeline, White House admits

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Biden might close Michigan pipeline, White House admits

The White House admitted Monday that it is studying the impact of shutting down the L5 pipeline from Michigan to Canada amid a global energy crisis.

A day after Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm warned that Americans will have to pay more to heat their homes this winter, deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Fox News’ Peter Doocy sparred over reports that the Biden administration was mulling the pipeline shutdown.

Doocy asked at the White House briefing why the administration is “considering” shutting down Line 5, which carries oil and gas liquids from Canada through Wisconsin and Michigan. 

“That is inaccurate, that is not right. Any reporting indicating that some decision has been made, again, is not accurate,” Jean-Pierre said before explaining that Michigan and Enbridge, the pipeline owners, are involved in legal proceedings.

“What’s inaccurate?”​ Doocy asked.​​

Jean-Pierre said the reporting about “wanting to shut down the Line 5” is inaccurate. ​​

aboveground section of Enbridge's Line 5 at the Mackinaw City, Mich., pump station.
Peter Doocy asked why the Biden administration is “considering” shutting down Line 5.
AP Photo/John Flesher, File

But the Fox reporter said he didn’t mention “wanting,” and asked whether the administration was “studying the impact of shutting down the Line 5.”​

“​Yes we are​,” Jean-Pierre admitted.​

“​So then what is inaccurate?”​ Doocy pressed. ​

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm warned that Americans will have to pay more to heat their homes this winter.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“I thought you were saying that we were going to shut it down, but that is not inaccurate. OK, great. But the Army Corps of Engineers is preparing an environmental impact to look through this​,” she said. ​

Politico reported that the Department of Energy is having an “ongoing discussion” about the impact Line 5 would have on energy markets. 

The report said White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy met with environmental groups about the pipeline last month, and a person who attended the meeting told the outlet that a decision could come after a vote on President Biden’s $1.85 trillion Build Back Better Act.

damage to anchor support EP-17-1 on the east leg of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline within the Straits of Mackinac in Mich.
The White House is studying the impact of shutting down the Line 5 pipeline.
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy via AP, File

That vote could happen next week. 

At the same time, several indigenous tribes in Michigan have asked the Biden administration to close the pipeline over concerns about the environmental damage it would have on the environment if it leaked or ruptured.

More than a dozen Republicans sent a letter to Biden last week warning that shutting the pipeline would hurt the economy and cause home heating costs to soar this winter.

An Imperial Oil Ltd. refinery near the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
An Imperial Oil Ltd. refinery near the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“This irresponsible action will hurt farmers, businesses, and families. President Biden has already done enough to weaken America’s energy security and international alliances, and the consequences of terminating Line 5 would only heighten these growing challenges,” the letter says.

B​iden, after entering office in January, rescinded a cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline over environmental concerns. ​​

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