Developer suspends pipeline project after backlash

Developer suspends pipeline project after backlash
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The developer behind the controversial Sandpiper oil pipeline is suspending its plans for the project.

Enbridge Energy Partners asked Minnesota regulators late Thursday to stop their consideration of the pipeline, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

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Mark Maki, the company’s president, told reporters that the project is “outside the company’s current five-year planning horizon,” though he didn’t shut the door on it completely.

The $2.6 Sandpiper pipeline was supposed to bring oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale region through northern Minnesota to a Wisconsin shipping terminal.

It would have passed through numerous areas that environmentalists and American Indians see as particularly sensitive, like the headwaters of the Mississippi River, lakes where Indians grow rice, and numerous other bodies of water.

“The end of the proposed Sandpiper pipeline is a crucial victory for the tens of thousands of Americans who have fought to protect their communities, their health, and the climate from the threat of fossil fuel infrastructure expansion,” Lena Moffitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels program, said in a statement.

Nonetheless, Paul Eberth, the pipeline project’s director, told the Star Tribune it had “support from many communities on the route.”

Last month, Enbridge bought a $1.5 billion stake in the Dakota Access pipeline, a project with a closer planned completion date that will accomplish a similar task to the Sandpiper, making it somewhat redundant.

Dakota Access is also very controversial, and environmentalists and American Indians are seeking court action to block it.