Enbridge Pipeline Raises Concerns in Minnesota

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (AP) — Landowners and tribal groups want Enbridge Energy to remove its old pipeline because of concerns of potential pollution if it wins regulatory approval for a replacement line across northern Minnesota.

Enbridge plans to remove the old Line 3 in portions where it’s exposed, but argues that safely removing the full line could be difficult because there are several locations where it’s near several operating lines, Minnesota Public Radio reported .

“If there was a compromising of those existing pipelines for a potential release, there could be an effect on the land use, the environment, and the general public and the landowners themselves,” said project director Barry Simonson.

The company estimates that removing the full pipeline would cost more than $1.2 billion.

Enbridge plans to continually inspect the line and clean it after it’s been decommissioned. The company will separate the line in multiple segments and cap the ends.

“We feel that it is important that we not just purge the line of crude oil, but we’ll also be doing a systematic cleaning program, that will ensure no more oil will be present in the pipeline,” Simonson said.

The company said it’s open to working with concerned landowners.

Saint Andrews Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids is seeking to have the pipeline removed from the front of the church.

“It’s our ongoing concern, how can we care for this place that God has charged us to take care of?” said pastor David Anderson.

Enbridge should work with landowners to find areas where the pipe should be removed or special abandonment procedures need to be put in place, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommended.

State regulators are expected to rule on the line’s fate in June.

There are two bills in the Minnesota Legislature that would require companies remove pipelines that are decommissioned, but neither has a scheduled hearing.

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