Governor, Legislators at Odds over Minnesota Oil Pipeline

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Governor, Legislators at Odds over Minnesota Oil Pipeline


An energy company wants to build a new oil pipeline through Minnesota, but it is meeting some resistance from activists and elected officials. The fight over Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project has caused a heated debate in St. Paul. Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, and the Republicans who control the legislature have differing approaches on the project’s approval.


Enbridge already operates a pipeline, named Line 3, through Minnesota. This pipeline starts in Alberta, Canada, and ends in Wisconsin, but it delivers crude oil to Minnesota. The current pipeline was built in the 1960s, and Enbridge wants to replace it with a modern pipeline. The easiest way to do this is construct a new pipeline along a different route from the current one.


Environmentalists, tribal communities, and religious groups oppose this new route. They cite a variety of concerns, such as the new route going through environmentally sensitive areas and infringing upon areas that Indians consider sacred. Enbridge says that this new route is necessary to ensure that there is no disruption from taking the existing pipeline offline.


In May, legislators passed a bill that would direct the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve the pipeline route. Governor Dayton vetoed the bill. This leaves the final decision with the PUC, which will hold a series of hearings this month on the project. After those hearings, the commissioners will vote on Enbridge’s route request.


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