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Minnesota Line 3 hearings to begin this week

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World Pipelines,

Minnesota kicks off public hearings this week on whether regulators should allow Enbridge Energy to replace its ageing Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is holding a public hearing in Thief River Falls regarding the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline replacement project on Tuesday, 26 September. It will take place from 1 - 4 pm and again from 6 - 9 pm at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Environmental and tribal groups say they expect hundreds of people to protest and march against the project before Thursday's hearing in St. Paul. They've been buoyed by a recent review from the state Commerce Department, which surprised opponents and Enbridge alike by concluding the project isn't needed and won't benefit Minnesota. But Enbridge says Line 3 is a critical piece of infrastructure for petroleum shippers and refineries in the region.

On 28 September, at the St. Paul Intercontinental Hotel, the public will have an opportunity to offer testimony on the need for the Line 3 Replacement Project — the second of nine locations for hearings across Minnesota over the next month.

Enbridge sees the project as a maintenance and integrity project — replacing Line 3 is part of the company’s ongoing pipeline maintenance programme.

Replacing Line 3 is expected to dramatically reduce future repair activities and result in less disruption to landowners and the environment than would otherwise arise from the anticipated 6000 integrity digs in Minnesota that would be required to maintain Line 3 over the next 15 years. If the project is approved, total economic impact for Minnesota is estimated at more than US$2 billion.

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