Minn. regulators recommend against $6.5B pipeline project

Minn. regulators recommend against $6.5B pipeline project

Officials in Minnesota will recommend the state utilities commission reject a permit for an $6.5 billion pipeline project due to cross the state.

The state’s Department of Commerce said Monday that Enbridge’s proposal to replace its Line 3 pipeline would not benefit the state and instead pose environmental risks. It will ask the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to deny a permit for the project, a decision due next year.

“In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socio-economic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built,” the Department of Commerce said.

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Enbridge is looking to replace its 1960s-era Line 3 pipeline, which transports oil from Alberta to terminals in Minnesota and Wisconsin. It secured Canadian approval for the 1,031-mile, 760,000-barrel-per-day project in November, and construction is underway on a small portion of the pipeline in Wisconsin.

A Minnesota Commerce Department study issued last month said that the proposed route through the state would affect fewer drinking water and cultural sites than the current pipeline, but impact areas of importance to recreational and tourism industries, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Environmentalists and Indian tribes in Minnesota have opposed the project, though Enbridge has said it can operate the pipeline safely and that it would be an upgrade over its current infrastructure.

“The way we look at it is that if you oppose this project, you are opposing the enhancement of critical, safety-related infrastructure,” Enbridge CEO Al Monaco told the Minneapolis Star Tribune this weekend.

“We are renewing this line with the most advanced technology in the business.”