After review of the Minnesota Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) recommendation on the Line 3 Replacement Project released earlier this week, Enbridge Inc. and Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. (collectively referred to as Enbridge) commented on the recommendations. The ALJ's recommendations are not binding on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Enbridge expects the PUC to vote on the Line 3 Replacement Project in June 2018.
Commenting on the ALJ recommendation, Al Monaco, President & CEO, Enbridge Inc. said: "We are pleased that the ALJ's recommendation clearly confirms the need to replace this critical piece of infrastructure that will enhance safety and environmental protection with the latest in pipeline technology and construction methods. The ALJ recommendation also recognises the economic importance of a modernised Line 3 that will have significant benefits to businesses and communities across Minnesota.
"That being said, the ALJ's suggestion of an alternative route ignores the extensive record compiled by the State of Minnesota in issuing a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement that incorporates input from thousands of Minnesotans who are in favor of our proposed route. Most notably, the ALJ's recommended route ignores the longstanding wishes of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe that the replacement not be constructed across their reservation."
The ALJ's recommended route (RA-07) would require in-trench replacement of the existing pipeline in the current right-of-way, introducing unnecessary safety, environmental and economic risks. Constructing RA-07 would require lengthy pipeline outages, which would cause extended supply disruptions leading to higher gasoline prices impacting Minnesota and the surrounding region.
Mr. Monaco continued: "From the beginning, we placed a top priority on respecting the views and concerns of communities including Tribal Nations. Our proposed route follows extensive study and is the result of significant input from stakeholders across Minnesota. It acknowledges the legitimate concerns of Tribal Nations, it best protects the environment and it has the overwhelming support of communities. We would like to thank the thousands of Minnesotans representing farmers, small business owners, unions, civic leaders and others for their efforts in support of this critical project."
Enbridge's proposed route has secured easements from landowners for 95% of the right-of-way, and follows existing energy infrastructure corridors for more than 80% of the route. A Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Line 3 project – prepared by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and deemed adequate by the PUC in March 2018 – demonstrates that Enbridge's proposed route is the least impactful to tribal cultural resources, drinking water and high population areas.
"Coupled with other impacts examined, we believe our preferred route is the optimal solution for Minnesota," said Mr. Monaco. "Given the demonstrated need for Line 3, the benefits of the proposed route, and the substantial negative impacts associated with the ALJ's alternative route, we continue to believe the PUC should approve the replacement of Line 3 as proposed."
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/26042018/enbridge-comments-on-the-administrative-law-judges-line-3-recommendations/