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Enbridge asks PUC not to reconsider Line 3

Enbridge Energy has asked the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission not to reconsider its June decision approving the company's Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project.

In a filing Friday, Enbridge attorney Christina Brusven argued the PUC should deny petitions for reconsideration filed last month by the Department of Commerce and environmental and Native American activists, which all argued the pipeline replacement is not needed.

"The Commission's decision to grant a Certificate of Need for the Line 3 Replacement project fully complies with the law, is consistent with decades of Commission precedent, and is supported by the voluminous record developed over the past four years," Brusven wrote. "Therefore, the Commission should deny the Requests."

Last month, the Department of Commerce, which has long opposed the pipeline project, argued the PUC did not base its decision to approve Line 3's certificate of need on future demand for crude oil and instead largely based it on the safety and integrity of the existing Line 3. The PUC's order "contains legal errors and ambiguities," the Department of Commerce said.

The Sierra Club, Youth Climate Intervenors, Friends of the Headwaters and Honor the Earth said in press release last month that their petitions for reconsideration were made because Line 3's harm would outweigh its benefit and that Enbridge didn't prove the pipeline required replacement.

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Red Lake Band and White Earth Band also filed for reconsideration last month.

In late June, the five-member Public Utilities Commission unanimously granted the project a certificate of need, but requested Enbridge make additional compliance filings, or modifications, on the parental guarantee for environmental damages, landowner choice program, decommissioning trust fund, neutral footprint program and general liability and environmental impairment liability insurance.

Enbridge still has to obtain a number of permits before construction can begin.

Once completed, the pipeline will carry 760,000 barrels of oil per day across northern Minnesota on its route from Alberta to the Enbridge terminal in Superior. Enbridge began working three years ago to get the project approved.

While the company and project supporters argue the new pipeline is needed to replace the existing and aging Line 3, opponents argue the line contributes to climate change, violates indigenous rights and is ultimately unnecessary.

Jimmy Lovrien

Jimmy Lovrien is a reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. He spent the summer of 2015 as an intern for the Duluth News Tribune and was hired full time in October 2017 as a reporter for the Weekly Observer. He also reported for the Lake County News-Chronicle in 2017-18. Lovrien grew up in Alexandria, Minn., but moved to Duluth in 2013 to attend The College of St. Scholastica. Lovrien graduated from St. Scholastica in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in English and history. He also spent a summer studying journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

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