Court documents filed by the federal government say planning is well underway for bilateral talks in the dispute over the Line 5 cross-border pipeline.
A proposed motion filed last week in U.S. District Court in Michigan says the first formal negotiating session between the two countries will happen “shortly.”
Canada decided last month to invoke a 1977 pipelines treaty between the two countries after talks broke down between the state of Michigan and the pipeline’s operator, Enbridge Inc.
Michigan wants the line shut down for fear of an ecological disaster in the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway where the pipeline crosses the Great Lakes.
The White House acknowledged Monday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the process of conducting an environmental assessment of the project.
Enbridge is seeking to upgrade the underwater portion of Line 5 with a concrete tunnel running beneath the straits to better protect the twin lines from anchor strikes.