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article imageEnbridge pipeline through Minnesota to be decided this week

By Karen Graham     Nov 21, 2016 in Environment
While people in North America have been focused on protesting the building of the Dakota Access and Kinder Morgan pipelines in the U.S. and Canada, Ottawa is about to give its approval on an even bigger pipeline this week.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's federal cabinet plans to rule on two pipeline projects this week, including the renewal of Enbridge's massive $7.5-billion pipeline to the U.S, according to CBC.
Enbridge's Northern Gateway project has already been on the receiving end of public scrutiny, and the Trudeau government must decide this week whether to go ahead with further Indigenous consultations or drop approval for the project. But for some reason, Enbridge's Line 3 project has garnered very little public attention.
The Line 3 project is the largest in the company's history and will be 1,659 kilometers (1,031 miles) long. It would carry tar sands oil, the dirtiest fuel in the world, from the Athabasca River Basin in Alberta, through northern Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.
Canada's National Energy Board signed off on the Line 3 project in April but added 89 stipulations for the segment running from eastern Alberta to Gretna, Manitoba.
The $7.5-billion Line 3 project is a replacement program, says Enbridge on their website. Enbridge is saying they will replace the existing pipeline with modern pipe materials utilizing modern construction methods.
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Enbridge
According to Enbridge, the existing line will be replaced with the new, 36-inch diameter pipeline, including about 13 miles in North Dakota, 337 miles in Minnesota, and 14 Miles in Wisconsin. But as readers will see, the new Line 3 project route is different than that of the existing pipeline.
The Honor Earth Organization says they will be replacing a pipeline built in the 1960s by simply walking away from it because it already has over 900 "structural anomalies." And this bit of information brings up Enbridge's environmental assessment studies.
On September 1, 2016, Enbridge withdrew its permit application for a pipeline called the "Sandpiper Pipeline." The Sandpiper line would have carried fracked oil from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, across the White Earth reservation and the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and through the 1855 Treaty Area, to their terminal in Superior, Wisconsin.
Enbridge crude oil tank farm in Cushing  Oklahoma  has a maximum storage capacity of 20 060 000 barr...
Enbridge crude oil tank farm in Cushing, Oklahoma, has a maximum storage capacity of 20,060,000 barrels.
Roy Luck
But with their withdrawal of the permit application, Enbridge concentrated on the Line 3 Project, and it uses the same route as did the Sandpiper Project, coming down from Clearbrook to Park Rapids and across the same wild rice lakes, rivers, and streams to superior Wisconsin.
Additionally, Enbridge "piggy-backed" the environmental impact statement they had used for the Sandpiper Project onto the Line 3 Project. A comment period is to occur from April to May, and a final determination on the EIS should occur in August 2017. Minnesota PUC is not expected to make any decision on the EIS until 2018.
Enbridge is also "on the clock" with the U.S. Justice Department. As part of a settlement reached after a massive oil spill that dumped 3.8 million liters of oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River, Enbridge was given until December 2017 to replace the entire pipeline.
So right now, in November, Canadians and Americans are facing pipeline proposals on both sides of the border, and all of them are putting our environment and health at risk. We will need to pay closer attention to what the oil companies are doing.
More about enbridge pipeline, Minnesota, line 3 project, Alberta tar sands, Alberta clipper
 
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