As the name suggests, the multibillion dollar New Line 3 planned by Enbridge is to take the place of Line 3 (or "Old Line 3"). The original 1960 vintage 34-inch diameter pipeline runs 1765-km from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. Apart from being old, corroded and prone to mishaps, it lacks the newest technologies that the New Line would have. New Line 3 will also be 36 inches in diameter, follow the existing Line 3 route from Joliette, North Dakota to Clearbrook, Minnesota, and then create a new path on existing transmission routes from Clearbrook to Superior, Wisconsin.
Environmental groups and local Indian tribes are not convinced that New Line 3 will be any more secure than the old line, and its new southward trajectory they say would open a new region of lakes and rivers to possible degradation from oil spills.
They have asked the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to reconsider its December decision on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), claiming the document should be rejected because it is fundamentally flawed, lacking among other things an assessment of large oil spills. The PUC is expected to hear their reconsideration arguments next week.
The PUC is slated to vote again on the EIS's adequacy in March. The commission is expected in June to make a ruling on the larger issue of whether the pipeline is needed.