There has been much argument lately around the country about building new pipelines. Close to home, the argument is about Enbridge wanting to replace its existing Line 3 pipeline that runs across Northern Minnesota.
Line 3 used to move more crude oil, but is shipping less to make sure this aging pipeline does not have any problems. In order to meet consumer demand, refineries are turning to railroads to deliver the quantity of crude oil they need. Not only is rail a more dangerous mode of transportation, but it is less energy efficient and a more carbon intensive mode of transportation.
Today, businesses and communities are suffering and negative effects of oil being transported by train and that trend will continue until more crude oil can be moved by pipeline. Grain, coal and other raw materials cannot use a pipeline. They need the rail. Rather than strangling our commodity exchanges by using rail, let’s invest in an infrastructure that will allow for the safe and energy efficient transportation of crude oil. Replacing Line 3 with the newest materials available and utilizing the most advanced technology will improve the pipelines overall energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.
For the last few years, the State of Minnesota has been evaluating replacing Line 3 and soon the Public Utilities Commission will make the decisions on the environmental review and other permits. This has been a long and thoughtful process. The time has come to take the next step forward. I urge the PUC to find the EIS adequate and move forward with permitting Enbridge to replace Line 3.