ST. PAUL – State Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston, said he is “cautiously optimistic” after the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Thursday not only approved a certificate of need for replacing the 70-year-old Pipeline 3, but agreed to use much of the preferred route for a new pipeline across the northern third of Minnesota, including District 2B.
“This is good news and I am cautiously optimistic as we take another step forward on this much-needed project,” Green said. “The old pipeline must be replaced and these decisions help us toward doing that in the safest, most efficient ways to protect our environment. This project is long overdue and, while the PUC’s decisions are key to making it happen, those of us who support replacing Line 3 must remain on task because roadblocks could still pop up in the process.”
The new $2.6 billion Line 3 will replace the original pipeline, which was installed in the 1960s and is deteriorating, operating at around half of its capacity of 760,000 barrels per day due to safety reasons.
The new Line 3 could have a capacity of 844,000 barrels, stretching 340 miles across Minnesota from Alberta to the Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wis. Most of that path follows Enbridge’s preferred route, with a PUC modification to circumvent Big Sandy Lake nine miles north of McGregor in Aitkin County. While more work is required to finalize construction permits, actual construction could start as early as late this fall or mid-winter.