Does Minnesota really need a new oil pipeline?
Friday, October 06 2017
Written by Dan Kraker/MPR News,
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Ever since Enbridge first proposed its $7 billion Line 3 project three years ago – its largest pipeline project ever – the company has touted it as a replacement project.

The Canadian company has operated its existing, 1,000-mile Line 3 for nearly 50 years. But the pipeline is corroding, which necessitates extensive and expensive maintenance, spokeswoman Jennifer Smith said.

“The best way to keep the communities and the environment safe really is to replace it,” she said. “This is a 1960s-era pipeline. We can replace it. We’ve got newer technology on our coating, it’s stronger steel, it would be thicker steel.”

However, the state Commerce Department argues the pipeline isn’t needed. A new round of public hearings for Line 3 began Sept. 26 as state regulators face the question of whether the project is necessary.

The pipeline was originally built to carry 760,000 barrels of oil a day. But the company has had to cut that nearly in half to maintain safety. The proposed new line would boost capacity back up to the original amount.

It would also cut a largely new corridor across northern Minnesota. It would track the original line’s path to Clearbrook, Minn, but then jut south toward Park Rapids, Minn., before cutting east to the Wisconsin border south of Duluth.

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