Enbridge: Petitions Against Approved Line 3 'Expected'

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Three months after Minnesota regulators approved the replacement of Enbridge Energy's aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline, opponents have petitioned the state to reverse its decision. 

(photo: Enbridge Energy)

The Sierra Club and three other organizations who filed requests with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) argue the new line is unnecessary and risks spills in environmentally fragile areas.

Calgary-based Enbridge, however, contends that a new Line 3 is the most environmentally friendly option available.  Maintenance demands are accelerating on the old line, and the risk of leaks will increase as it grows increasingly subject to corrosion and cracking. If Line 3 isn't replaced, the company said, customers will rely more on crude oil deliveries by rail and truck, which are riskier and more expensive than pipeline transport.

The PUC gave Enbridge the green light to replace Line 3. The commission scheduled a meeting earlier this month to determine if Enbridge met its conditions, but that meeting was postponed because it was disrupted by protesters.

"In June, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve the Certificate of Need for Enbridge's Line 3 Replacement Project. The petitions filed today are an expected part of this very thorough regulatory process," Enbridge said in a statement Tuesday night.

"The Line 3 Replacement Project is a safety and maintenance driven project that is intended to protect the communities and the environment in northern Minnesota," it said.

Line 3 is an existing 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline, originally installed in the 1960s, that extends from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, and is an integral part of Enbridge's Mainline System.

The Line 3 Replacement Program spans from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin and consists of 1,031 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline. The US$2.9-billion American portion of the Line 3 Replacement Program (from Neche, North Dakota, through Minnesota, to Superior, Wisconsin) is referred to as the Line 3 Replacement Project.

(P&GJ staff and AP report)

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