Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – For at least the last six months, Enbridge has been aware that the shutdown of Line 5 will have negligible impacts on gas prices. In recent filings in the lawsuit between the Bad River Band of Chippewa Indians’ and Enbridge, Enbridge’s own independent expert report states that gasoline prices would increase by just 0.5 cents per gallon in Michigan and Wisconsin, and 1 to 2 cents per litre of gas in Ontario and Quebec.
Bad River Band has said Enbridge is trespassing on their land and wants the pipeline removed from their territory. They have also been pursuing legal action against Enbridge to evict them from their land.
The expert report, produced at Enbridge’s request and submitted as evidence in the case between Bad River Band and Enbridge, confirms that closing Line 5 would not cause a major spike in gas prices. The report, submitted six months ago, was made public last week. This confirms what multiple analyses have already shown, including analysis commissioned by Environmental Defence in February of this year which showed that impacts to gas prices in Ontario and Quebec following a Line 5 shutdown would be just 2 cents per litre.
“International energy markets control oil prices, not any one single pipeline. And Enbridge knows this,” said Michelle Woodhouse, Water Program Manager for Environmental Defence. “Fossil fuel companies like Enbridge are raking in record profits while they exploit the current conflict in Ukraine and high gas prices as a means to protect their bottom line and keep Line 5 in operation despite the threat it poses to the Great Lakes. But the truth is, Line 5’s operation is irrelevant to the issue of soaring gas prices.”
“A spill from Line 5 would be devastating to the Great Lakes and the people who live here. It would cause disastrous harm to drinking water sources, aquatic ecosystems such as fisheries, and the overall economic well-being of Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents who depend on these lakes. Studies estimate that a worst-case oil spill from Line 5 would cause damages between $1.8 to $6.3 billion, and these numbers do not include impacts to Canadian shorelines,” added Woodhouse.
“It should be very clear now that when it comes to the operation of Line 5, the biggest economic threat we face is actually the threat that it poses to the Great Lakes ecosystem which we depend upon for all aspects of life here. The pipeline can and should be closed as soon as possible,” Woodhouse concluded.
Read the full report from Enbridge’s expert, Neil Earnest (see page 12 for his quote regarding gas prices).
For further information and context, additional court documents including The Bad River Band’s experts’ rebuttals can be viewed here:
- Brief reply by Band, re Band summary judgment contra Enbridge, filed 20220526 – key pages: 73-78
- Report expert rebuttal, Band expert Graham Brisben PLG – key pages: pages 51-54
- Report rebuttal expert, Band expert Randy Meyer Third Rail Group – key pages: pages 34-40
- Report expert rebuttal, Band expert Jill Steiner PSC
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Lauren Thomas, Environmental Defence, lthomas@environmentaldefence.