(FOX 9) - Enbridge Energy's controversial Line 3 oil pipeline, which runs through northern Minnesota, was officially put into service Friday.
The new pipeline is capable of transporting massive amounts of crude oil from Canada through Northern Minnesota to Lake Superior.
Over the years, the Canadian-based company Enbridge has overcome years of government hurdles, protests and lawsuits to stop the pipeline.
Enbridge executives have long said the reason a new pipeline was needed was because the existing one was old and compromised. Line 3 replaces a pipeline that was originally constructed in the 1960s, but after roughly 60 years, the company approached the state of Minnesota to replace it.
"Replacing Line 3 completely comprehensively addresses the known integrity risks and reduces the risk of accidental release before an incident occurs," Eric Swanson, a representative for Enbridge, said at a Public Utilities Commission meeting in June 2018.
Enbridge has faced fierce opposition from environmentalists and some Native American tribes.
"The Ojibwe people have opposed this project from the beginning…you know, Enbridge has peeled off people with money," said Winona Laduke, executive director of Honor the Earth which has been fighting Line 3 for years.
However, with the new pipeline now in service, the company is beginning work to take care of the old pipeline that’s still in the ground.
Enbridge spokesperson Mike Fernandez said the fate of the old pipeline comes down to ownership of the land where it resides.
"The owner of that property has a choice to make, whether they keep the pipe in the ground, or they have us pull it up -- and there are a fair number of people that decide to keep the pipe in the ground, as not to disrupt anything else by pulling that up," said Fernandez.
Even with Line 3 officially in service, many critics continue to call on President Joe Biden to stop it. However, there has been no indication the White House is getting involved.