Biden administration clarifies it's not weighing Line 5 shutdown

The White House on Tuesday clarified that the Biden administration is not considering a shutdown of the Line 5 pipeline in Michigan despite a push from the state to do so. 

Asked Monday about the pipeline, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-PierreKarine Jean-PierreDemocratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills OSHA suspends enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses Inflation raises focus on Biden Fed pick MORE told reporters that the administration was studying the impact of shutting down the pipeline, but during her Tuesday comments, she appeared to walk back her assertion. 

Jean-Pierre noted that amid a dispute with the state over the pipeline, Canada invoked a treaty involving the U.S. government. But she said that these negotiations should not be viewed as an attempt to stop the vessel’s operations. 

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“These negotiations and discussions between the two countries shouldn’t be viewed as anything more than that — and certainly not an indicator that the U.S. government is considering shutdown. That is something that we’re not going to do,” Jean-Pierre said. 

Jean-Pierre noted that part of the line could be replaced and that the U.S. Army Corps will study that potential replacement. 

The clarification comes after Politico reported last week that the administration was weighing the economic impacts of a potential shutdown. 

Canadian company Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline ships Canadian oil and other fuels to the U.S. Earlier this year, the company defied an order from the state of Michigan to shut down the vessel. 

Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerJudge orders pro-Trump election lawyers to pay 5,000 in sanctions Michigan Democrats resume push for gun control after school shooting Three dead, six wounded in Michigan school shooting MORE (D) has argued that the vessel’s underwater portion is too risky to remain in operation. The company has argued that it's operating lawfully under federal authorities and brings affordable fuel to the region. 

The latest round of comments comes as domestic fuel prices are on the rise, putting increased pressure on the Biden administration.