Updated 16:54, Friday, June 29, 2018
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Enbridge Energy authorities have received approval from Minnesota's regulators on Friday to replace Line 3's replacement crude oil pipeline Operating in the second half of next year, assuming everything is going well for them.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Thursday determined the project is necessary and approved the Canadian company's preferred route through northern Minnesota, with modifications and conditions that Enbridge deems insignificant
In an interview with The Associated Press, Guy said Jarvis, president of Enbridge's Liquid Pipelines Division, said the approval is "not the end of the process, but the startup of many others work."
Jarvis said that the work involves securing at least 29 state, local, and federal permits includes. This process and other proceedings before the Public Services Commission could last until October, he said. Once these hurdles have been removed, he said the company could start work in November to be mobilized for "significant construction work" to begin in early 2019.
Democratic governor Mark Dayton said that these permits are "by no means certain" that state agencies will hold the company to "Minnesota's highest standards" for protecting its environment, natural resources and cultural heritage.
"We know we have a high bar for these remaining permits," said Jarvis. Line 3 goes from Alberta via North Dakota and Minnesota to the Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The replacement would use part of the same route in Minnesota before taking a more southerly route.
Enbridge convinced the Commission that replacing the pipelines of the 1960s, which are increasingly prone to corrosion and cracks, required for safety and reliability deliveries of sufficient crude oil to Midwest refineries. But Native American and environmental activists say that the Canadian tar sand oil it carries will accelerate climate change. They also say that in fragile areas, including the waters where the Ojibwe harvest wild rice, they risk being spilled.
Jarvis acknowledged that the emotions are high on both sides and many Minnesota residents support the project. He said the company plans to continue working with communities along the way to show them that the line will be an asset and not a burden.
"We are ready to continue to engage people with conflicting views," he said
After the Commission issued its formal written decision in the coming weeks, the opponents can file their complaints with this agency and, if the Commission sticking to its decision at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
News conference on Friday on the approved route, where the pipeline would cross the Minnesota-Wisconsin border on its way to Superior, within sight of the equipment, Enbridge said, already in preparation for the construction in Minnesota.
"We will stop this in the legal process and we will end this with our bodies," said Winona LaDuke, founder of Honor the Earth, according to the event's video. "This is Minnesota's standing rock."
LaDuke referred to protests that drew thousands of people into the Standing Rock reservation in neighboring North Dakota in 2016 and 2017 to demonstrate against the Dakota Access pipeline, leading to violent clashes with law enforcement officials and more than a decade 700 arrests.
"Here it stops for us," she said. "We will not let the pipeline get any further."