To say the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s approval of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project was mischaracterized in the April 9 letter to the editor would be an understatement. We would like to clarify a few points.
First of all, Line 3 is already the most studied pipeline project in the history of Minnesota. The regulatory process surrounding its approval has been transparent, clear and robust spanning four years, thousands of hours of environmental and cultural study, and thousands of public comments. When commissioners voted unanimously to approve the project’s final environmental impact statement, certificate of need and route permit with conditions, they reaffirmed the recommendation of an administrative law judge who thoroughly examined environmental aspects of this project.
Second, Minnesotans consume more than 12.8 million gallons of petroleum products every day and our state relies on imports to meet its energy needs. There are two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce more than two-thirds of the state’s petroleum products. Enbridge’s pipelines deliver more than 80% of the crude oil needed for their daily operations.
The Enbridge pipeline system – including Line 3 - is full today and demand for pipeline capacity is expected to grow, even under the most conservative forecasts.
Third, replacing Line 3 is a safety-driven maintenance project and a $2.6 billion private investment in Minnesota’s energy infrastructure. Replacing an aging pipeline with new, thicker pipe protected by fusion-bonded epoxy coating, using the most advanced welding and construction technology will better protect the environment and our communities. Not only will Line 3 provide a reliable supply of crude oil to Minnesota for years to come, it will also bring 8,600 jobs during construction, and an additional $35 million in annual property taxes to the state after its first year in service.
Every day, Enbridge pipelines safely deliver the energy we need to fuel vehicles, power manufacturing, and grow jobs. We recognize there are different points of view about the energy we all use. We seek to resolve these differences of opinion by working with individuals and communities along the project route. We support a timely environmental permitting process that includes opportunity for public input, and we will continue to work closely with state agencies and officials during this process.
After Enbridge receives necessary approvals to proceed, it is our goal to complete construction as safely and respectfully as possible, and we hope others will support that goal.
Swanson is vice president of Line 3 Replacement