Pipeline battle threatens Toledo jobs

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A move by the Michigan Governor could threaten jobs here in Toledo. Lt. Governor John Husted stopped at the Toledo Refining Company on Woodville Road on Tuesday to let workers at the facility know that state lawmakers are working on their behalf.

At issue is a 66 year old pipeline known as Line 5. This pipeline runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan and delivers 50% of the crude oil to supply the Toledo Refinery. Without that supply the workforce of 500 employees would be threatened because of decreased production capacity. But Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel and Governor Gretchen Whitmer want to shut the line down because of environmental safety concerns. A spill could be devastating to the environment and lawmakers don't want to take chances. In the meantime, the company that owns the pipeline, Enbridge out of Canada says it wants to build a protective tunnel around it over the next 5 to 7 years.

While this fight rages on between Enbridge and the State of Michigan, it leaves the future of the pipeline supply to Toledo Refining Company in jeopardy. There are 500 employees, the United Steel Workers Union representing a large number of them, along with 1000 contracting jobs at the facility and if you shut the line, you shut down half the plant's production. Lt. Governor John Husted says "They can't close the one we have now, there's not a reason for it." Husted goes on to say "There will be real consequences, Loss of jobs, higher gas prices, a disruption of lives and over what? Nothing!."

There is no word yet on whether Michigan will agree to work with Ohio Lawmakers to resolve the issue.