DULUTH - 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, Oct. 5, Enbridge attorney Christina Brusven argued that 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.