The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project is necessary, beneficial to Minnesota, and in the national interest. It would ensure the continued safe, reliable, and economic delivery of energy needed by people in the region and other parts of the country. In addition, this project would protect the environment and provide a positive financial impact through tax revenue for the state.
Every aspect of modern life relies on energy. Examples include food production and distribution, water purification, wastewater treatment, constructing infrastructure, transportation, and heating buildings.
Opponents want the merits of the project to be judged by the perceived and potential risks. One concern is that the project poses a risk to the waters of Minnesota. Any method of transporting crude oil (pipeline, rail, or truck) has a risk of a leak or spill. To transport the equivalent amount of crude oil on Line 3 would require either 10,000 rail cars a day or 24,000 tanker trucks per day. These rail cars and/or trucks would be transporting hazardous liquids through cities and towns. Do we want that risk?
The Line 3 Replacement Project would be constructed with modern, high-grade steel pipe and use construction techniques that minimize impacts to the environment. In environmentally sensitive areas, such as river crossings, Enbridge utilizes "horizontal directional drilling," which places the pipe deep below the environmentally sensitive area and utilizes double-thick pipe walls. This technique was successfully used to install Line 67 under the Mississippi River in 2010.
Some have suggested the project would not provide enough direct benefit to the state of Minnesota. Enbridge provides 80 percent of the crude oil to the two refineries in Minnesota and 100 percent of the crude oil to Calumet Refinery in Superior. These refineries provide the majority of the fuel used for transportation in the state of Minnesota.
The project is estimated to provide 8,600 construction, supplier, and service jobs while the pipeline is being replaced. The project also would provide an annual incremental property tax revenue increase of $19.5 million to the state of Minnesota.
For 65 years, Enbridge's pipelines have safely operated in Minnesota's environmentally sensitive areas. The Line 3 Replacement Project would ensure that high safety standards are maintained and would eliminate the need for approximately 6,000 integrity digs forecasted in the U.S. over the next 15 years. This would further reduce disruptions to landowners and the environment.
Unlike many other large infrastructure projects, the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project is not seeking any public funding. Enbridge is investing its own money to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of crude oil.
The replacement of Line 3 is an essential project for ensuring the environmental protection of our important natural resources and for ensuring the safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation of crude oil to refineries in Minnesota, the Midwest, and beyond.
Jerry Christoff of Hermantown has worked for Enbridge for 11 years, including as area manager of the Superior Terminal. He currently is the regional services manager for the Superior region.