Threats to shut down Enbridge's Line 5 oil and gas pipeline from Canada into Michigan are "political" and a "play to the environmental groups," but any decision to close the facility would face legal challenges, and no problems with its integrity have been proven, former assistant U.S. Attorney General Nathan Hochman, a candidate for the attorney general's seat in California, tells Newsmax.
"The challenges would be because the United States has a treaty with Canada that allows these types of cross-border energy transfers," Hochman said on Newsmax's "National Report" Tuesday.
He added that Republicans have asked, through a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), if there were any integrity issues with the pipeline, and the agency responded in January that there are no such problems involved.
"[It's like how] you don't mess with the airlines during Christmas time," he added. "You're not going to be messing with the pipeline during the winter. So they will study this; they will appease the environmental groups; but ultimately, since there are no integrity issues, they will not shut it down."
The administration is weighing what to do about Line 5, which transports about 540,000 barrels of petroleum products from Western Canada to Escanaba, Michigan, daily.
Republican lawmakers are warning President Joe Biden that shutting down the pipeline will result in higher prices for gasoline and home heating.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has pushed to shut down Line 5, citing concerns that there could be a spill in the Straits of Mackinac, reports MarketWatch. This has put her at odds with the Canadian government and with Enbridge.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that the Army Corps of Engineers is preparing "an environmental impact statement on Line 5 and the construction of that replacement line," Market Watch also reported. The statement, she added, will "help inform any additional action or position the U.S. will be taking on the replacement of Line 5."
Hochman also discussed the news that the Biden administration is pushing for its vaccine mandate for private companies employing more than 100 people to move forward despite a court stay from a New Orleans federal court that said the measure poses potential constitutional issues.
The administration's push to mandate vaccines, rather than submit legislation to Congress for debate, bypassed OSHA's normal procedures for issuing public notices for comment over new regulation, said Hochman.
"That is the heart of what the 5th Circuit down in Louisiana said poses grave statutory and constitutional concerns," said Hochman.
Other circuits will be examining the issue and will likely rule against the mandates, said Hochman, adding that the case, like the Texas abortion ban, will likely end up before the Supreme Court.
"I think what the Supreme Court is going to focus on is the mechanism that the Biden administration has done," he said. "If they want to make this a legislative priority, there are mechanisms to do that. Go through Congress, pass a law, go through OSHA, and have the normal notice and comment procedure."
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