ST. PAUL – Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, cited numerous safety concerns continued delays to the replacement of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline could cause as he testified in support of the project during an administrative law hearing Wednesday at the East Lake Community Center near McGregor.
In testimony before Administrative Law Judge Ann O'Reilly, Lueck summarized concerns also outlined in a letter he sent Tuesday to Scott Ek of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, manager of the project’s permitting and commission process. Lueck said he urges officials to provide the requisite certificate of need and grant permits necessary to begin the pipeline replacement project and outlined the dangers of denial.
Lueck’s testimony was based on his letter to Ek and included:
“Your first duty is to protect the public safety. Continued delay of timely replacement of this pipeline demonstrates a disregard for public safety that increases the risk that members of the general public will be killed or injured by transport of high-hazard flammable crude oil unit trains.
“By the Department of Commerce’s own findings, reduction or elimination of Line 3 could result in up to 10 high-hazard flammable crude oil unit trains per day traveling directly through these small towns. Your failure to act with dispatch could lead to exposing our children in public school buildings to close proximity and the daily traffic of high-hazard flammable crude oil trains. Those trains will be passing dangerously close to our court houses, city halls, county jails, assisted living centers, hospitals, churches, nursing homes and residential apartments in the cities of Deerwood, Aitkin, McGregor and Tamarack.”
The current Line 3 was installed in the 1960s and its replacement was mandated by the federal government during the Obama administration. The replacement route for 337 miles of pipe through Minnesota – one link in a line from Superior, Wis., to Alberta, Canada – would cross Lueck’s House District 10B. Public hearings will continue to examine the issue before Ek and the PUC are expected to announce a decision on the project this spring.
Click here for Lueck’s complete letter to Ek.