PUC hears final arguments in debate over Enbridge Line 3 replacement

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Tuesday was the final day for arguments in the debate over the proposed replacement for the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline ahead of next week’s vote. 

Enbridge wants to replace about 282 miles of its Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota that runs from the North Dakota border all the way to its refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. The pipeline is about 50 years old and is starting to corrode in many spots. The company said it takes a lot of effort to keep the pipeline safe. 

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will vote next week on whether to keep the pipeline as is and deny Enbridge’s request to replace it or whether to allow Enbridge to replace the pipeline and if so, where the pipeline would run. The commission had two days slated for testimony from both supporters and opponents of the proposal to replace the pipeline before making a decision.  

The vice chair of the Public Utilities Commission said he is undecided on whether denying Enbridge’s request would hurt the both the supply to its customers and consumers in Minnesota and the five-state region. Opponents said the commission should focus on the effect on consumers, but Enbridge said you cannot pick between the two. 

The hearing will last until 6 p.m. Tuesday. The PUC will meet in one week for more discussion and to make a decision.