The Line 3 Replacement Project has taken some large steps forward over the last few months, most recently this past week when the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission filed written orders resoundingly reaffirming its approval of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement, route permit, and certificate of need.

PUC Commissioner Katie Sieben may have said it best at last month’s PUC hearing: “A new pipeline with thicker and safer materials, constructed with up-to-date safety standards by skilled laborers operating under prevailing wage laws, is a better outcome than leaving an old pipeline that again was ordered by federal consent decree to seek replacement.”

Line 3 is a shovel-ready, safety-focused, $2.6 billion private investment in Minnesota and its communities. Tribes are benefitting from Enbridge’s commitment to spend $100 million on the training and hiring of tribal members and contracting with Native-owned businesses for the project. More than 4,000 primarily local union members will work in family-sustaining construction jobs. Communities along the right of way will benefit immediately from millions of dollars in construction spending and an ongoing boost in tax revenues, as northern Minnesota in particular is facing high unemployment.

As we prepare for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s contested case hearing for the water quality permit, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished together through each proceeding.

Line 3 remains the most studied pipeline project in Minnesota history with six years of regulatory and permitting review. The process has included 70 public-comment meetings, court review and reaffirmation of a 13,500-page Environmental Impact Statement, dozens of responsive route modifications made by Enbridge, and multiple reviews and approvals by the Minnesota PUC of the project’s certificate of need and route permit.

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Enbridge’s commitment remains as steady as ever. We are prepared to proceed with construction once all permits are received.

Replacing Line 3 not only meets Minnesota’s energy needs, it replaces an aging pipeline with new, modern construction. This is the safest and best option for protecting our environment and communities.

Barry Simonson of Duluth is director of Line 3 Project Construction for Enbridge.