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In Response: Plan for 'just transition' includes replacing Line 3

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A replica of part of the proposed Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline sat outside the Minnesota Capitol Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, as project supporters aimed to convince the governor not to file another appeal delaying its construction. (Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service)
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If we’re going to talk about a just energy transition, as Winona LaDuke discussed in her Aug. 9 commentary in the News Tribune (Native View: “ Urge Enbridge to make 'just transition' away from Line 3 ”), let’s agree that we need to keep energy affordable, safe, and reliable for everyone. Legitimate concerns about climate change lead many to believe we can move immediately to a 100% renewable world.

But all the scenarios in the World Energy Outlook, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2019, demonstrate we simply do not have the luxury of shutting down conventional energy any time soon. The world will need it for a long time to come.

The IEA forecasts a nearly 25% increase in global energy use between 2018 and 2040 due to population growth, urbanization, and increased access to energy by the developing world. “Energy is essential for humanity to develop and thrive,” the agency stated.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on our society, on our economies, and on the global energy industry, Enbridge performed stronger than expected during the first half of 2020. The volume of liquids we are moving per day is at or near the maximum capacities of our pipelines. Pipelines are the safest and most energy efficient method of transport for liquids like crude oil.

Renewables are a critical component of the energy mix and of Enbridge’s business, but the world is going to need all sources of energy to meet future consumption projections. If you don’t believe me, read the IEA’s World Energy Outlook for yourself.

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Enbridge continues to reduce emissions on our oil and gas transportation and invest in renewables — more than $8 billion to date in projects like onshore and offshore wind generation. Our conservation programs have resulted in emissions reductions equivalent to taking more than 9 million cars off the road.

We are doing things that may surprise you, including renewable natural gas, which is the capturing of methane from garbage dumps and using it to fuel vehicles, and P2G, or power-to-gas, which turns water into hydrogen and uses existing infrastructure as an energy storage solution. The hydrogen then reduces emission intensity of natural gas.

In addition, replacing the existing Line 3 with new, thicker, technologically advanced pipe promises to better protect our environment and communities while transporting the energy that fuels our lives in the safest and most efficient way.

The old Line 3 is to be taken out of service following the installation of the new Line 3. We’ve come to agreements with the Fond du Lac and Leech Lake Bands on the decommissioning and removal of the old Line 3. We have already reached out to hundreds of landowners regarding our Landowner Choice program for Line 3. They will decide if they want Line 3 removed or cleaned and decommissioned in place.

From the beginning of this process, we’ve valued and respected the views and concerns of communities, including tribal nations. For Line 3, Fond du Lac led the longest and most extensive Tribal Cultural Resources Properties Survey ever performed on an energy infrastructure project in Minnesota. More than 30 tribes consulted in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ process.

Even before construction has begun, Enbridge has spent $110 million of a promised $100 million on contracting, training, and employment with Native businesses and individuals, including tribal monitors who are trained and ready to protect cultural resources once construction begins.

It is also worth noting that the Line 3 Replacement Project is the most studied pipeline project in Minnesota history with six years of regulatory and permitting review. This has included 70 public-comment meetings, appellate review and reaffirmation of a 13,500-page Environmental Impact Statement, 320 route modifications in response to stakeholder input, and multiple reviews and approvals by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the project’s certificate of need and route permit. Now a contested case hearing for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s 401 Water Quality Certification is being overseen by a fourth administrative law judge assigned to review this project.

Transportation companies like Enbridge have a responsibility to safely deliver the energy that supports our quality of life, enhances our social well-being, and drives the economy. We take this responsibility seriously, and we’ll continue to work to deliver real solutions.

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If Winona LaDuke and Honor the Earth would like to work together on solutions including renewable development, energy efficiency, or energy transition, our door is open.

Paul Eberth of Duluth is director of tribal engagement for Enbridge.

Paul Eberth.jpg
Paul Eberth

Related Topics: LINE 3 REPLACEMENT PROJECT
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