(STL.News) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today filed an amicus brief with Michigan’s 30th Circuit Court urging the court to consider the economic impact of a complete shutdown of Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline. Indiana and Louisiana joined Ohio’s brief.
Yost argues that due to the redundancy in the design of the East and West lines, a complete shutdown of both lines unnecessarily negatively effects Ohio refineries and puts more than 1,000 Ohioans out of work.
“Both Ohio’s economy and environmental safety are preciously important to me,” Yost said. “I believe that the designed redundancy of the two lines provides the company the ability to safely operate one line while the other is being addressed, which keeps the supply chain intact and Ohioans at work.”
Enbridge Energy during a routine inspection noticed an irregularity in the pipeline bracket and out of an abundance of caution chose to shut down the East portion of the pipeline to monitor the situation. The pipeline was designed to divert the flow of oil so that if one section of the line was compromised, the other side of the pipeline could still safely function. Yost argues that if one line of the pipeline can safely operate, why negatively impact Ohio businesses and workers?
The Line 5 pipeline feeds both PBF Energy Toledo Refinery (PBF Toledo Refinery) and BP-Husky Toledo, both Ohio refineries and both at risk of major economic and job losses if Line 5 is forced to completely shut down. PBF Toledo Refinery employs 585 people including engineers, accountants, building trades and operators, as well as more than 600 contractors, all of whom could be impacted if the line were to close. The brief sites, “The total annual economic activity produced by this facility alone is $5.8 billion, resulting in $9.2 million in payroll taxes. … The company produces — per day — enough gasoline to fill 224,000 cars and enough jet fuel to fly around the world 42 times.”
The BP-Husky Refinery would also have a negative economic impact as its refining produces 3.8 million gallons of gasoline, 715,000 gallons of jet fuel, and 1.1 million gallons of low sulfur diesel fuel and employs approximately 625 people, and it indirectly supports an additional 4,400 jobs. BP-Husky Refinery’s production has a significant economic impact on Ohio, Indiana and the surrounding region. In 2017, the refinery yielded $2.8 million to Ohio in property and state/local income/franchise taxes. The company, as well as Ohio, would suffer a significant loss due to the complete closure of Line 5.
The unfortunate truth is that the local gasoline and diesel market in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio would face significant product supply shortages, coupled with material price spikes that would likely be passed on to the consumer.
Enbridge Energy is part of a network of 36 terminals that supports significant economic activity and distributes finished oil products throughout the region. That activity is only made possible by Line 5 via the Toledo Line. The economic impact of Line 5 halting complete production of both lines would cause significant economic hardship for the entire region. That hardship will be felt by thousands of union workers, businesses and consumers alike.