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Canada using ‘dormant’ treaty to sidestep Indigenous rights in U.S.: court documents

WASHINGTON — Human rights and environmental groups say Canada is trying to exploit a “dormant” cross-border treaty to prevent the shutdown of the Line 5 pipeline. 

The argument is in new court documents in the ongoing dispute between Calgary-based energy giant Enbridge Inc. and an Indigenous band in Wisconsin. 

The groups, including the U.S. Center for International Environmental Law, say Line 5 deserves no special treatment just because it crosses an international border.

Enbridge and Canada’s federal government are using the 1977 treaty to argue that the economic and geopolitical stakes are too high to shut down the pipeline. 

Both the company and the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa are appealing a district court ruling that gave Enbridge three years to move the line off band territory. 

Enbridge says that may not be enough time to prevent the shutdown of what it calls a vital energy supply line for Ontario, Quebec and the U.S. Midwest. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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