Biden Shutting Down Line 5 Pipeline Could Send Gas Prices Surging

Millions of Americans could face even higher energy bills this winter if the Biden administration closes a gas and oil pipeline running through Michigan, a group of Midwest lawmakers has warned.

Line 5 pipeline could be under threat due to the White House exploring the potential impact of closing it on fuel prices in the region, according to a recent Politico report, amid a drive to reduce the U.S.'s dependence on fossil fuels.

The line, which delivers Canadian crude oil and natural gas from Alberta to Ontario through Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and Michigan, has operated since 1953 and currently transports about 540,000 barrels per day.

In a letter to Biden dated November 4, Ohio General Assembly Bob Latta, a Republican, and 12 other lawmakers urged the president to keep the line running as closing it would only further encourage rising energy bills.

"As we enter the winter months and temperatures drop across the Midwest, the termination of Line 5 will undoubtedly further exacerbate shortages and price increases in home heating fuels like natural gas and propane, at a time when Americans are already facing rapidly rising energy prices, steep home heating costs, global supply shortages, and skyrocketing gas prices," Latta wrote.

Line 5 has come under fire from Michigan's Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer in recent years; however, the issue moved up the White House's agenda after Canada's decision to invoke the 1977 Pipeline Transit treaty a month ago to ensure the line's continued operation, according to Politico.

Lawmakers who urged Biden not to take action claim the government's move to end the line's operation is part of a move to "soothe environmental groups."

It comes as Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm warned that Americans should expect to pay higher costs to heat their homes this winter, as a result of high gas prices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is going to happen," Granholm told CNN on Sunday. "It will be more expensive this year than last year," Granholm told State of the Union's Dana Bash on Sunday when asked about possible price rises.

Last month, the Energy Information Administration released a report stating U.S. households that rely on natural gas for heating could spend an average of $746 to heat their homes this winter—up 30 percent from the previous one.

Retail natural gas prices are expected to hit the highest levels since the winter of 2005-2006.

Granholm also said that President Biden, who attended the ongoing COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland last week, is focused on both "immediate-term and the long-term" solutions, including investing in clean energy.

That climate conference came as fuel prices rocketed in Europe, where some analysts have told Newsweek leaders are increasingly dependent on Russian gas.

Granholm added: "We are in a slightly beneficial position, well certainly relative to Europe, because their choke hold of natural gas is very significant. ... But we have the same problem in fuels that the supply chains have, which is that the oil and gas companies are not flipping the switch as quickly as the demand requires."

The Biden administration has been contacted for comment.

A ship passing beneath the Mackinaw Bridge.
A ship is seen passing beneath the Mackinaw Bridge July 27, 2008 as seen from Mackinaw City, Michigan. Line 5 passes underneath the Straits of Mackinac. Getty Images/KAREN BLEIER/AFP