Minnesota approves Enbridge Energy Line 3 pipeline project

02 Juillet, 2018, 02:14 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • An activist opposing the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline dangles from a steel structure erected in St. Paul

On Thursday, the Minnesota Public Utility Commission gave the green light to Enbridge Energy's Line 3 - a new Canadian tar-sands pipeline that would replace a deteriorating pipeline that's now running at half capacity.

In a statement late Thursday, Enbridge Inc. based in Calgary, Alberta, called that a "good outcome for Minnesota".

"We are taking potential delays during the construction process resulting from criminal protesters into consideration (similar to what occurred during the Dakota Access pipeline construction)", said Gillies.

The two other commissioners did not explicitly say they would vote in favor of the certificate but approval appeared to be imminent.

Enbridge has been working for more than three years to get the project approved. "It feels like a gun to our head".

While the company maintains that the new pipeline is needed to replace the existing and aging Line 3, opponents argue the line contributes to climate change, violates indigenous rights and is ultimately unnecessary.

"We will stop this in the regulatory process, we will stop this in the legal process and we will stop this with our bodies", Winona LaDuke, founder of Honor the Earth, said, according to video of the event.

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"Replacing Line 3 is first and foremost about the safety and integrity of this critical energy infrastructure", Monaco said.

Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the pipeline's route - a slightly modified version of Enbridge's preferred path. The PUC gave the company and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa two months to negotiate whether the pipeline will travel through or around the reservation.

"The Enbridge mainline, of which Line 3 is a major backbone component, has served as the principal route for exports of Canadian crude oil to US markets for decades", she said.

"The Fond du Lac Band is prepared to appeal this decision and we will evaluate our options as we receive the full written decision from the Commission", the band wrote. Enbridge now runs Line 3 at about half its original capacity of 760,000 barrels per day for safety reasons, and now uses it only to carry light crude.

Enbridge thanked pipeline supporters as well as the PUC "for their very thorough and well considered decision". He says that process could take until October.

Enbridge is proposing an overhaul of the Line 3 segment of a broader network that extends through parts of Canada and into the northern United States. Construction is underway on the short segment that crosses northeastern North Dakota and on the longer section from Alberta to the US border, and Enbridge plans to continue that work.

Construction of the pipeline is crucial to ensure access to the U.S. Midwest, which imported 2.3 million barrels per day of Canadian crude in 2017, said Nancy Berard-Brown, manager of oil markets and transportation for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

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