Enbridge says Line 3 work may start in November | AP business

An activist opposing the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline dangles from a steel structure erected in St. Paul

Enbridge says Line 3 work may start in November | AP business

The state's Public Utilities Commission approved a certificate of need for the project in a 5-0 vote and signed off on a pathway for the conduit that hewed closely to Enbridge's preferred route on a 3-2 vote.

"It's irrefutable that that pipeline is an accident waiting to happen", Commissioner Dan Lipschultz said before the vote.

Replacing the pipeline along the current route would have required Enbridge to shut it down for nine to 12 months and consult with two Minnesota Ojibwe bands that generally haven't supported the project. "Not only will Line 3 bring great benefits to Minnesota workers and our state's economy, it is critical to supplying our entire region with affordable, reliable energy". That portion of the line was cast into doubt in April after a Minnesota judge recommended that the state's public utilities commission grant the project a certificate of need, but asked that the new line follow the conduit's existing route rather than the company's preferred path. Tania Aubid of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe stood and said when the PUC's decision became apparent. "We're not letting the pipeline get any further, and we're all committed to that here". "We will continue to fight to ensure that this pipeline is never built".

Two groups, MN350 and Honor the Earth, announced plans to travel north and demonstrate along the Minnesota and Wisconsin border where Line 3 is expected to cross.

"How would I feel if I woke up in five years and found out that line had leaked?"

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Margaret Breen of Youth Climate Intervenors - a group of young activists who have been working to oppose the pipeline - says that her organization remains motivated to stop the project, too.

"We will be out on this line, and we will stop this in the regulatory process, we will stop this in the legal process, and we will stop this with our bodies", she said.

Other pipeline supporters celebrated Thursday's decision, including Jobs for Minnesotans. It has spent $3.6 billion to date on the overall project. "The PUC's decision is not the final approval of this pipeline", he said.

Enbridge has already replaced a short segment of Line 3 in Wisconsin and put it into service. The company expects the new Line 3 to be in service by the end of 2019.

The pipeline still needs at least 29 federal, state, and local permits.

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"Approvals are by no means assured", he said.

Commissioners were torn about their decision and stressed during an emotional hearing their hands were tied. He says that process could take until October.

Environmental groups said Line 3 isn't necessary because regional consumption is on the decline.

The project's opponents, including the Minnesota Department of Commerce, have argued that the refineries don't need it because demand for oil and petroleum products will fall in the coming years as people switch to electric cars and renewable energy sources. "We aren't there yet".

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