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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Line 3 will deliver crude oil through safer pipeline

Line 3 has operated for nearly 50 years and Minnesota refiners count on it daily to move significant volumes of crude oil. Line 3 has maintenance challenges, yet is safely being operated with reduced pressure and volume. However, the volume reductions have created challenges for Minnesota and regional refineries to ensure adequate supply.  

Minnesota refiners, including those near the Twin Cities, have been unequivocal on the need for Line 3 replacement throughout the regulatory process.   

In a letter filed with the PUC on May 9, 2018, Flint Hills Resources, refinery owner, stated, “The Pine Bend refinery relies exclusively on the Enbridge pipeline system to provide the crude oil it needs to help meet demand for all these products [gasoline and jet fuel]. The importance of the Enbridge pipeline system to Minnesota, including the proposed replacement of Line 3, cannot be overstated.”

If Line 3 replacement is not approved by the PUC, the existing pipeline will require a multi-decade maintenance program that will impact landowners and the environment. A better and safer alternative is the proposed replacement project, on the proposed route, that uses modern materials and the latest construction methods. The route is preferable in that it has the least impact on the environment and communities, and is the most respectful to Tribal Nations.

The proposed route would also be least impactful to the Minnesota refineries. Should the PUC approve the ALJ-recommended route alternative, the existing line would be shut down for 9 to 12 months. This lengthy pipeline outage would cause extended supply disruptions leading to higher gasoline prices impacting Minnesota and the surrounding region.

The Public Utilities Commission should vote “yes” to Enbridge proceeding with the project as proposed. The need for Line 3 replacement is clear. This project will benefit Minnesotans and its refineries by delivering required crude oil supply through a safer pipeline.

Jack Fleeton, Calgary, is Director of Corporate Development for Enbridge.

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