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Sandpiper pipeline OK’d by North Dakota public service panel

BISMARCK, N.D. — During a regular meeting Wednesday, North Dakota’s Public Service Commission approved construction of the $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline.

The pipeline will extend through 10 northern North Dakota counties, starting at the Beaver Lodge oil and gas field near Tioga. It is planned to reach a terminal in Clearbrook, Minn., and end at a terminal in Superior.

New pipes, ranging from 24 inches to 30 inches in diameter, will allow oil to be shipped to Canada, and the southern and eastern United States. Canadian energy delivery company Enbridge will supervise pipeline construction.

Project managers say the pipeline will offset oil imports, increase North American energy independence and create thousands of new jobs.

Opponents have maintained that the pipeline will negatively affect woods and farmland. Others have also said it will increase fossil fuel use, contributing to climate change.

The 612-mile pipeline will carry 225,000 barrels of oil each day. Construction is slated to begin this fall, as Enbridge predicts the pipeline will begin transporting oil in 2016.

A little less than half of the pipeline in North Dakota will closely follow existing Enbridge pipeline infrastructure. More than 75 percent of the new pipeline will also snake along current utilities right of way routes.

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