President Joe Biden is weighing whether to shut down the Great Lakes' Line 5 pipeline, even as his own Energy Department expects heating costs this winter to jump by as much as 54 percent.
Politico reported Sunday that the Biden administration is "quietly studying" the impact of quashing the pipeline, which connects Superior, Wis., and Sarnia, Ontario, and transports natural gas and propane to rural communities across the Great Lakes region.
The study comes as Michigan's propane prices have risen 50 percent from last year and as Biden's Energy Department predicts a 54-percent spike in propane costs. Increased energy costs have driven the highest inflation surge in more than a decade, the Labor Department reported in October.
Nearly 80 percent of voters said in August that they blamed Biden, whose administration prohibited new gas and oil drilling permits on federal lands, for the surge.
Thirteen Republican House members who represent the region wrote in a Nov. 4 letter to Biden that killing the pipeline would "further exacerbate shortages and price increases in home heating fuels like natural gas and propane." In addition, "tens of thousands of jobs would be lost," "billions of dollars in economic activity would be in jeopardy," and "the environment would be at greater risks due to additional trucks operating."
Environmentalists, Indian tribes, and Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer (D.), however, say the pipeline poses a serious pollution risk to the Great Lakes.
The pipeline is supported by the Canadian government, which expressed frustration over Biden shutting down the Keystone oil pipeline earlier this year. Canadian minister of natural resources Jonathan Wilkinson, a member of the Liberal Party, said Friday that the Line 5 pipeline's operation was "non-negotiable."