Public Utilities Commission approves Enbridge Pipeline 3

Susie Jones
June 28, 2018 - 4:07 pm

Sloan Martin, WCCO Radio

Minnesota regulators have approved Enbridge Energy's proposal for replacing its deteriorating Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota. But they haven't settled on a major question: the route. The Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Thursday to grant a certificate of need for Enbridge. The Canada-based company says the line needs replacing for safety and reliability because its maintenance needs are accelerating.

After the vote, protesters gathered outside the building to express their anger and fear.

Winona La Duke is executive director of Honor the Earth:

"I'm very discouraged by the system in Minnesota.  I feel as though we gave them every opportunity to do the right thing and they didn't. They knew this was the equivalent of putting 50 coal fire power plants on line." 

Minnesotans for Line 3 supported the project

Bob Schoenberger is in construction and among 200 people who also showed up outside the hearing to show their support of line.

"A lot of people focus on jobs, but we don't build pipelines to create jobs.  There's a market for the product. It's a product we all use. It makes our lives better. It heats our homes and gets us to work on time."

Isaac Orr, Policy Fellow at the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank, issued the following statement:

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has unanimously voted to approve the replacement of the Line 3 oil pipeline which runs through northern Minnesota. While the PUC made the right decision, the fact that multiple public utilities commissioners were emotionally distraught about approving the replacement of a corroded and potentially dangerous pipeline just goes to show that the Commission has become increasingly divorced from reality during the Dayton Administration. This should have been an easy decision for Minnesota's environment and the economy. Instead, commissioners seemed to believe approving this pipeline was like Sophie’s Choice.”

Governor Mark Dayton also issued a statement: 

“Many people hold passionate views on this project. I urge everyone to express themselves peacefully. The PUC’s decision is not the final approval of this pipeline. Rather, it only allows Enbridge to begin to apply for at least 29 required federal, state, and local permits. 

Those regulatory reviews, which address numerous issues not considered by the PUC, will take several months. Approvals are by no means assured, and they would require any such project to meet Minnesota’s highest standards, protecting all our state's earth, air, water, natural resources, and cultural heritage. I assure that state agencies will fully uphold those high standards, as they review these applications.  Construction cannot and will not begin, unless Enbridge receives all required permit approvals.”