ST. PAUL – Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, joined more than three dozen fellow legislators in urging Gov. Mark Dayton to instruct the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Public Utilities Commission to move forward with the proposed Enbridge Line 3 Replacement project.
The aging pipeline was ordered replaced by the federal government during the Obama administration, and has been subject to unprecedented public review and comment. A letter signed by Lueck and others notes that the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Public Utilities Commission have consistently exceeded statutory and regulatory timeframes which has added unnecessary delays to the critical project.
“Continuing to delay replacement of Line 3 increases the potential for more crude oil on the rails,” Lueck said. “That raises a public safety issue; transporting crude oil by pipeline is significantly safer than by rail car. Replacement of the Line 3 pipeline will mean more than $3 billion in private investment and create thousands of good-paying jobs along the route.”
The letter also raised concerns over the risk to the environment if the line is not replaced.
“We do not need 10 to 12 crude oil unit trains per day running through downtown Brainerd, Deerwood, Aitkin, McGregor or Tamarack,” Lueck said. “That is one of the options if we do not replace Line 3.”
With the Environmental Impact Statement now complete, the project has now cleared all relevant procedural hurdles including the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act. A final decision, to be made by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commissioner, is expected next spring.