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Enbridge Plans Huge Tar Sands Pipeline Project in the United States

Enbridge Plans Huge Tar Sands Pipeline Project in the United States

Enbridge has announced its intention to build a 1660 km, 36 -inch diameter oil pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to the company's terminal in Superior, Minnesota. This will be the largest project in the history of the company and cost an estimated $7.5 billion to complete.

The new pipeline would replace what is known as Line 3. According to Shannon Gustafson, Enbridge spokesperson, "Line 3 has experienced external corrosion inherent and common in the pipe coatings used at the time the pipeline was constructed in the early 1960s. Enbridge currently forecasts more than 6,000 maintenance activities are required on the line in Minnesota alone over the next 15 years to maintain safe operations."

Environmental opposition to the new pipeline and to what Enbridge has in store for Line 3 is growing, as old Line 3 will be largely left in the ground.

Minnesotans for Pipeline Cleanup, wants Enbridge to cover the costs for the old Line 3 once it is abandoned. Even without oil flowing through the pipe, the group argues, the decaying remains could pose a threat to water, land and property rights.

"I think it's just a scandal that Enbridge isn't going to pull up that old pipeline," said John Munter of Warba, a member of the landowner group. "Iowa has a great law: If a pipeline is abandoned, after five years landowners can request the pipeline be removed at the expense of the owner. We don't have that here."

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will ultimately decide whether to allow the pipeline to be built as planned, deny it outright or allow it to be built with conditions it is allowed to set by state law.
In addition to building the new pipeline, Enbridge plans to "permanently deactivate in place" the old Line 3 once the new pipeline comes online.

Federal pipeline safety law requires Enbridge to disconnect, clean out and seal the ends of the pipes that remain and file a report detailing where it crosses waterways.

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