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Crosslake public hearing Oct. 25 an opportunity to be heard on Line 3 replacement project

On Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Crosslake Community Center, people in the Brainerd lakes area will have the opportunity to offer testimony on the need for the Line 3 Replacement Project being proposed by Enbridge. This will be one of nine locations where hearings are being held across the state, and the public can participate during one of two hearing times: 1-4 p.m. or 6-9 p.m.

We regard public participation as a critical part of the review process and look forward to hearing from citizens. It is important for people to understand why we believe Line 3 needs to be replaced.

The existing Line 3 Pipeline, which currently runs from the North Dakota border to Clearbrook and then on to Superior, Wis., will require extensive maintenance and repairs along the entire pipeline in Minnesota. In fact, we anticipate 6,000 integrity digs in the state that would be required to maintain Line 3 safely over the next 15 years. The prompt replacement of the 1960s-era Line 3 is an essential maintenance project that will ensure the safety and environmental protection of our important natural resources as well by ensuring crude oil is safely transported to refineries in Minnesota, the Midwest and beyond.

Our proposed route is not a new corridor: from North Dakota to Clearbrook, Enbridge will co-locate with 98 percent of our existing right-of-way. From Clearbrook to Superior, Wis., the route will follow existing pipelines south to near Park Rapids, and then turn east, following transmission lines and railroad lines for approximately 75 percent of the route. We believe this preferred route provides the best balance—avoiding sensitive resources and minimizing potential impacts to both people and environmental resources.

There have been suggestions recently that Minnesota does not rely on the energy transported in Line 3. Let's be clear—in testimony filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, one of our shippers stated unequivocally that it relies exclusively on the Enbridge pipeline system to deliver crude oil to its Minnesota refinery and it expects to be a shipper on Line 3, if the project is approved as proposed.

Line 3 is part of a system that serves a multi-state area, which is critical infrastructure. That is why we need to replace the existing line with the most advanced materials, most up to date technology that also uses superior construction methods. We're confident in the Minnesota regulatory process which requires weighing of all evidence by a judge followed by recommendations to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. After months of analysis and public input the state's own Final Environmental Impact Statement concluded that from an environmental perspective, replacing Line 3 is superior to maintaining the existing line.

Enbridge has been part of Minnesota's fabric of life for the more than 65 years. We are proud to live and work here, contributing to Minnesota's economy by delivering North American energy safely and reliably. And with the Line 3 Replacement Project we're going to keep doing just that, safely and reliably.

John Swanson, Duluth, is vice president of major projects for Enbridge

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