Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Approves Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project

According to Enbridge, the multibillion-dollar Line 3 replacement represents the largest project in the company’s history. Here, contractors work near Superior, Wis. MPR News

Minnesota regulators have approved Enbridge’s proposal to replace its Line 3 pipeline across the northern part of the state.

According to media reports, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the $9-billion Enbridge Line 3 replacement project on Thursday afternoon.

MPR News says the decision came with several conditions, including a decommissioning trust fund to ensure the new pipeline will be retired responsibly decades from now. Enbridge will also be required to follow through on a promise to landowners to remove portions of the old Line 3 upon request.

The Globe and Mail reports, a narrow 3-2 decision approved Enbridge’s preferred route for the pipeline, south of the existing corridor, with only slight modifications, meaning the company dodges the potential for lengthy delays and added costs of alternatives.

Indigenous tribes and environmental groups vowed immediately to appeal the decision and maintain their resistance to the project.

In a sign of potential clashes ahead, the commission was interrupted midway through Thursday’s deliberations in St. Paul, Minn., by shouts that it had “declared war on the Ojibwe.”

Native american activists and environmentalists oppose the project, saying it’s unnecessary and would risk spills in pristine areas of the state.

Line 3 also requires 29 additional permits from local, state and federal levels, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said in a statement. “Approvals are by no means assured,” he said.

Appeals of the commission’s decisions go to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The Minnesota Legislature also could intervene when it reconvenes next year. Dayton vetoed a bill last session that would have let Enbridge bypass the commission and proceed with replacing Line 3. But voters will elect a new governor and a new Legislature in November.

The total length of the Line 3 replacement is 1,031-mile (1,660-km) from Alberta in western Canada to Wisconsin.

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Enbridge Backtracks on Decision to Seize Assets from Environmental Group

Staff at the Vancouver office of an environmental group got an unexpected visit on Tuesday from sheriffs who were holding court documents authorizing them to seize the organization’s assets on behalf of Enbridge.

Karen Mahon with Stand.earth, formerly known as Forest Ethics, said the documents authorized the sheriffs to take and sell all of their assets to recover money owed to the pipeline giant.

Stand.earth owes Enbridge money after losing a court case against changes to Line 9 – a pipeline that runs between Ontario and Quebec.

A photo of documents posted online by the environmental group shows the amount owing is about $14,500.

The fees were awarded as part of an unsuccessful lawsuit the group launched against the National Energy Board and Enbridge, alleging inadequate consultation around the pipeline expansion project.

In an email Enbridge spokesperson Jesse Semko said Enbridge abandoned the decision to seize Stand.earth’s assets, adding they would not pursue the matter any further.

~With files from the Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Keystone XL, Line 3 and Trans Mountain ‘More Vital Than Ever’ as Energy East Cancelled: Analyst


An analyst says the shelving of TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East pipeline means it’s more vital than ever that three other pipelines to oil export markets proceed as planned.

AltaCorp Capital analyst Dirk Lever said Friday that Canadian producers will have to transport any new oil production over the next year or so using railcars because the pipelines leaving Western Canada now are essentially full.

He said the next capacity increase is expected to come with Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 replacement project, which is under construction and will add 370,000 barrels per day of capacity to the United States by early 2019.

But that additional room will only just accommodate new output from oilsands expansions and the situation will remain tight until the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline to the West Coast proposed by Kinder Morgan is in service, which is expected to add 590,000 barrels per day by late 2019.

TransCanada hasn’t yet approved its Keystone XL pipeline into the U.S., but Lever said its 830,000-barrel-per-day capacity will likely provide enough room for Canadian oil production growth until about 2030, when the industry expects Canadian production to reach five million barrels per day.

He said Energy East could come off the shelf if any of the other pipelines don’t go ahead, or if market conditions change to encourage higher production growth.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Treaty Alliance Vows to Fight Other Projects After TransCanada Ends Energy East Pipeline

A group of First Nations leaders who formed to fight pipeline projects across Canada says they will continue their push to stop three other pipelines now that the TransCanada Energy East pipeline is dead.

TransCanada made the announcement Thursday.

The Treaty Alliance Against the Tar Sands, made up of 150 First Nations across Canada and the United States, says it will now focus its sights on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion, Enbridge’s Line 3 and TransCanada’s Keystone XL.

“Both the Northern Gateway fight and this Energy East one show that when First Nations stand together, supported by non-Indigenous allies, we win,” Mohawk Council of Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon said in a release sent Thursday. “So that’s two tar

“So that’s two tar sands expanding mega-pipelines stopped in their tracks but it will be a hollow victory if Indigenous opposition and serve as an outlet for even more climate-killing tar sands production.”

Energy East had been proposed as a way to move Alberta oilsands production as far east as an Irving Oil operation in Saint John, N.B.

Supporters say Energy East was necessary to expand Alberta’s markets and decrease its dependency on shipments to the United States. Detractors raised questions about the potential environmental impact.

Calgary-based TransCanada had announced last month that it was suspending its efforts to get regulatory approvals for the mega projects.

It will now inform the federal and provincial regulators that it will no longer be proceeding with its applications for the projects.

“After careful review of changed circumstances, we will be informing the National Energy Board that we will no longer be proceeding with our Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications,” CEO Russ Girling said in a statement.

He added that TransCanada will also withdraw from a Quebec environmental review.

The premiers of Alberta and New Brunswick say they’re disappointed by TransCanada’s cancellation of the Energy East pipeline, which would have connected their two provinces.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says her government has always supported Energy East because of the new jobs, investments and markets it would create.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant also said Energy East would have been good for his province’s economy and generated future revenue for his government.

The Opposition Conservatives are tearing a strip off the Liberal government over TransCanada’s decision to cancel the Energy East pipeline project.

Deputy Tory leader Lisa Raitt is blaming the decision squarely on what she described as the “disastrous” Liberal policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Treaty Alliance is warning the governing Liberals, and premiers, that before megaprojects are built, consent of First Nations is needed.

“This is yet another lesson to government and industry that you can’t hope to build any project without the consent of First Nations, and certainly not a destructive mega-project like Energy East,” said Ghislain Picard, Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec-Labrador on behalf of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion.

“Whether they like it or not, governments and industry can’t ignore us anymore.”

APTN National News

[SOURCE]

Private Property Home to Growing Initiative Opposing Proposed Enbridge Pipeline

Camp Makwa - Line 3 Front Line Camp/Facebook

Camp Makwa – Line 3 Front Line Camp 

CLOQUET, MN –Dozens are gathering in opposition to the Enbridge Line 3 proposed crude oil pipeline. Protests over the controversial project in Douglas County, Wis., have resulted in a number of arrests.

Right now, several routes are at the center of public hearings. One group of protesters who call themselves water protectors is recalling Standing Rock as they voice their opposition.

One of the proposed Line 3 routes would travel through the Fond du Lac Band’s land, which is where The Makwa Initiative is underway. One Ojibwe grandmother says Makwa means black bear in Ojibwe.

Fond du Lac Band member Jim Northrup III is among the growing members of the Initiative.

“They’re here, they’re serious,” water protector, Northrup III, said.

Northrup is the son of late world-renowned author and poet, Jim Northrup, and says Makwa is bound to become as big as Standing Rock. He says he is happy to see the water protectors return the favor after spending a year at Standing Rock.

“It’s like these are the ones that are watching, watching – trying to watch over this water,” Northrup III said.

The Makwa Initiative is on 30 acres of privately owned land that falls within the Fond du Lac Band’s boundaries. It started as a gathering of several people, but we are told the gates have opened to nearly 150 people gathering on weekends.

“I know it so much where I’m willing to die for this,” water protector, Dallon White, said.

The growing initiative has caught the attention of St. Louis County. In a letter to the landowner, Scott Kretz, the county lays out the permits needed to be filed if he wants to use his property as a camp.

Kretz claims he is simply opening his place to hunting, gathering and traditional practices.

“Are they going to take the rights of property away from me for doing this?” water protector, Scott Kretz, said.

In its letter, St. Louis County says a campground application ensures trash is properly disposed of and sewage is properly treated in order to prevent pollution at the site.

According to a St. Louis County spokesperson, there are parts of Cloquet where the mailing address is Cloquet, but the location still falls within St. Louis County; that is the case when it comes to Kretz’s land.

“They’re going to punish me because I’ve allowed people to come visit me in this common cause? Where’s the harm?” Kretz said.

Northrup says they are there to protect the earth’s resources against fossil fuels.

“I come home and they’re trying to put in another line or remove their line. Nobody knows what they’re really doing. But I’m ready to set aside more because that’s what I did for Standing Rock.”

KBJR 6 was not allowed into the entirety of the site due to concerns of St. Louis County using our footage against those on-site. KBJR 6 was told all water protectors are welcome to join the Initiative.

The Camp Makwa – Line 3 Front Line Camp’s Facebook page says supplies can be sent to 3868 Brevator Road, Cloquet MN 55720. The Facebook page links to a legal fund in their about section.

We asked Barry Simonson, Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project Director, if the company was prepared for a Standing Rock situation happening at the site, and Simonson said he did not think anyone wants that to happen.

“We at Enbridge have been operating in Minnesota for over 65 years. We live here, and I work and live here, and Minnesotans live and work in Minnesota. So I don’t think anyone wants that to happen,” Simonson said.

The Enbridge Line 3 project has already been approved in Wisconsin, but has yet to be approved in Minnesota. The Line 3 Pipeline carries Canadian crude oil from Alberta to Wisconsin.

(Reporter/Writer: Ramona Marozas, Photographer: Michelle Alfini, Editor: Anthony Larson)

By KBJR 6, Posted: Sep 25, 2017

[SOURCE]

 

First Nation Questions Relationship with Canada Following Court Ruling

Myeengun Henry, then a band councillor for Chippewas of the Thames. – Marta Iwanek / Toronto Star

Meaningful engagement with Chippewas of the Thames First Nation includes securing our free, prior, and informed consent when any government proposes to take actions that impact our rights, including our lands, territories and resources

by Myeengun Henry

I write on behalf of my First Nation in relation to the recent decision from the Supreme Court of Canada regarding .Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v. Enbridge Pipelines Inc., 2017 SCC 41, which leaves our members questioning the meaning of an ongoing nation-to-nation relationship with the Canadian government.

This decision, which allows Enbridge to reverse the flow and increase capacity of crude oil on the Line 9 Pipeline, significantly impacts our community and its members, and as you may expect, has not been well received.

Though the National Energy Board failed to fully recognize and respect our Aboriginal and treaty rights, the Supreme Court upheld the NEB process nonetheless. The question the court failed to address is what recourse does our nation have to protect its rights going forward?

What if a tribunal, such as the NEB, improperly addresses or fails to recognize an Aboriginal right with no Crown oversight. As a final decision maker, what recourse would a First Nation have to then protect its rights? A decision from the NEB can effectively extinguish an Aboriginal and/or treaty right.

It is clear the courts are not prepared to protect our constitutionally entrenched rights. And now we must question what the government is prepared to do? Offering our nation an opportunity to participate in fundamentally inadequate consultations does not preserve the “honour of the Crown” and completely ignores our historical treaty relationship.

The decision of the Supreme Court has an immediate and chilling effect on our nation. We are currently inundated with applications on numerous resource development projects. We are most concerned that the Crown will fully adopt the reasoning of the Supreme Court and completely rely on any and all regulatory processes to satisfy its duty to consult. Such a result is not acceptable.

The Supreme Court’s ruling allows the Canadian government to delegate a nation-to-nation relationship to resource companies who are now empowered to determine the potential impacts of our nation’s constitutionally protected rights without any direct Crown involvement.

This is extremely troublesome and was not the intention of our people when we agreed to share in the protection and management of our land and resources as set out in our Treaties including the Longwoods Treaty of 1822; the London Township Treaty of 1796; the Sombra Treaty of 1796; Treaty No. 29 of 1827; and the McKee Treaty of 1790.

Justice Minister and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, recently released the Government of Canada’s 10 principles to assist in achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a “renewed, nation to nation, government to government, and Inuit-Crown relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.”

Specifically, Canada stated, “Canada’s constitutional and legal order recognizes the reality that Indigenous peoples’ ancestors owned and governed the lands which now constitute Canada prior to the Crown’s assertion of sovereignty. All of Canada’s relationships with Indigenous peoples are based on recognition of this fact and supported by the recognition of Indigenous title and rights, as well as the negotiation and implementation of pre- Confederation, historic, and modern treaties.”

This principle is intended to honour historic treaties as frameworks for living together, including the modern expression of these relationships. In accordance with the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and the accompanying Treaty at Niagara, 1764, many Indigenous nations and the Crown historically relied on treaties for mutual recognition and respect to frame their relationships.

The treaty relationship between the Chippewas nation and the Crown is a foundation for ongoing co-operation and partnership. The spirit and intent of both Indigenous and Crown parties to treaties, as reflected in oral and written histories, must inform constructive partnerships, based on the recognition of rights, that support full and timely treaty implementation.

To protect our rights and way of life the Chippewas of the Thames have developed our own consultation law (Deshkan Ziibiing/Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Wiindmaagewin), which is now being enforced within our traditional territory.

Our own consultation law will now be provided to any and all developers operating or intending to operate within our traditional territory. Further to the Canadian government’s guiding principles our nation will be asserting our own self-determination with respect to consultation within our territory.

Meaningful engagement with our nation includes securing our free, prior, and informed consent when any government proposes to take actions that impact our rights, including our lands, territories and resources. It is through the assertion and enforcement of our own laws that we can guarantee our lands and territory are properly protected for the enjoyment of future generations.

– Myeengun Henry is chief of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation

Article originally published in the Toronto Star on Aug. 11, 2017

[SOURCE]

Indigenous Protesters Ordered to Pay Oil Giant Thousands Over Pipeline Legal Battle

Haudenosaunee man Todd Williams has been ordered to pay thousands in legal fees after disrupting work in protest at Enbridge dig sites in Hamilton this year. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Haudenosaunee men spent months protesting at Enbridge dig sites

By Adam Carter

Todd Williams spent months sparring with Enbridge all over Hamilton, trying to disrupt the company’s pipeline operations. And now it’s costing him.

After a legal battle with the oil giant that centred on the company’s property rights versus Indigenous treaty and hunting rights, Williams and another Haudenosaunee man, Wayne Hill, were ordered by a Superior Court in Hamilton this month to pay Enbridge $25,381.81 in legal fees. The costs award comes after Enbridge won an injunction barring them from maintenance dig sites.

Williams says that Enbridge has approached him with an offer to forgo those costs if he agrees to stay away, but he isn’t sure if he wants to sacrifice his principles.

He contends that Enbridge’s isn’t properly consulting with Aboriginal communities about maintenance work on its Line 10 pipeline, which runs through Hamilton — though Enbridge says otherwise.

“It’s about not allowing us to participate. We’re concerned about the land,” Williams said.

“We have rights — treaty rights.”

An Enbridge spokesperson said she couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case as it’s before the courts, but Senior Communications Adviser Suzanne Wilton told CBC News that “seeking legal remedies is always a last resort.”

“Safety is our top priority and these steps were necessary to ensure that preventative maintenance required for the continued safe operation of our pipeline could continue,” she said. “We would prefer to achieve mutually agreeable solutions through conversation.”

Blocking roads and tearing down fences

According to court documents filed as part of the injunction, Enbridge says that Williams and Hill have been “regularly interfering” with its work crews at maintenance dig sites along the pipeline since Jan. 26, 2017.

The documents say there have been “dozens” of incidents where Williams interfered with work crews, and at least six incidents involving Hill.

“Enbridge alleges that one or both of the defendants have torn down snow fences, blocked roads and gates, and have verbally demanded that work be shut down,” the documents say. “In one incident Mr. Williams blocked a maintenance dig site such that Enbridge employees working at the site could not leave until he was persuaded to move his truck.

“Enbridge alleges that after two weeks of obstruction the defendants placed rabbit traps to obstruct its access to certain maintenance dig sites, asserting treaty hunting rights.”

Williams says he used these kinds of traps at Enbridge dig sites in Hamilton. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Other protests have sprung up over Enbridge pipelines in Hamilton in recent years, including an occupation of the North Westover pump station in 2013.

Williams, who is an engineer, is part of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), which is in turn part of the traditional Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council.

He wants Enbridge to notify the HDI of work along the pipeline, and to pay to have Haudenosaunee monitoring staff on worksites to make sure the work is being done safely and to environmental standards.

In court documents, Enbridge says that it wrote letters to two First Nations (Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit) and to HDI describing the nature of the work.

For Williams, that wasn’t enough. “We need more engagement, more consultation than just a notice,” he said.

Treaty rights versus property rights

Williams says he started camping out at sites and setting traps (which are humane cage traps), citing the Nanfan Treaty of 1701, which he says include his harvesting and hunting rights to the land.

In the end, the court found that Enbridge was entitled to an injunction restraining Williams and Hill from interfering with any dig sites.

“They determined their rights override my treaty rights. They’re pretty much saying I can’t have my treaty rights on private property,” Williams said.

“Well, when that agreement was signed, there was no private property.”

Williams said that ruling is not being appealed.

Workers were present at the Enbridge maintenance dig site on Wilson Street in Ancaster on Tuesday. (Adam Carter/CBC)

In the end, the two men are now on the hook for Enbridge’s legal costs — which amounts to $18,387.81 to Williams and $7,000 for Hill.

Williams says that he can dip into his retirement funds to pay it off, but that treaty rights and environmental safety are both bigger issues.

He also says that Enbridge has made an offer to forgive the costs award, if he stays away from the company’s work sites for two years.

Enbridge would not confirm or deny that offer when asked, citing the court proceedings.

“I’m considering it, but we’re talking about my rights and how they’re considered,” Williams said.

“If I get up and walk away, they’re just going to continue.”

Article By Adam Carter, originally posted in CBC News on May 31, 2017

[SOURCE]

 

Enbridge Re-Examined Stake in Bakken Pipeline after Dakota Access Protests

Enbridge president and CEO Al Monaco attends the company’s annual general meeting in Toronto in this 2015 file photo. (Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Globe and Mail | May 11, 2017

The intense images of clashes between protesters and U.S. law enforcement at the construction site of the Dakota Access pipeline south of the border last year made Canada’s Enbridge Inc. reconsider its minority stake in the controversial project.

Chief executive Al Monaco revealed Thursday that he, the rest of the executive team, the board and other units of the Calgary-based pipeline company spent weeks re-examining their already-stated plan to acquire a 27.6-per-cent interest in the Bakken pipeline system – which includes the Dakota Access pipeline.

“It was hard to miss what was going on out there. And we were very concerned about it,” Mr. Monaco told reporters following his company’s annual general meeting.

“Frankly we spent a lot of time pondering this issue, given the circumstances,” he said. “We considered all kinds of alternatives, just like we do with any investment. This one had, certainly, a heightened degree of concern given what was going on.”

Mr. Monaco and other North American energy executives have argued that pipelines are now the “point of attack” for environmental opposition to new oil and natural gas projects. In early January, it became apparent that Enbridge had delayed its plan to acquire an interest in the Bakken properties for $1.5-billion.

What’s now clear is Enbridge’s unease was spurred by protests, and confrontations between U.S. law enforcement and opponents, at the Missouri River in Standing Rock, N.D. Construction was allowed to continue only after the project received a required easement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – the federal agency tasked with issuing permits for water crossings for such pipeline projects – under orders from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Enbridge finally decided to continue to move forward with the deal for the near-constructed pipeline after looking at the vetting the project had already received by operator Energy Transfer Partners LLC, including a number of route changes made in response to environmental concerns, Mr. Monaco said. Energy Transfer Partners and the Corps of Engineers “actually did a fair job, a good job, of listening to people,” he said, reiterating a promise to work closely with Indigenous communities affected by projects.

Oil shipments on the Dakota Access pipeline, now partially owned by Enbridge, are set to begin as soon as Sunday.

However, the protests against Dakota Access, and other oil pipelines, haven’t ended. A few dozen protesters gathered outside the Enbridge meeting on Thursday, speaking against both the Dakota Access pipeline and the $7.5-billion Line 3 replacement program, which will see the refurbishment and expansion of pipeline already in the ground.

Enbridge is waiting on draft environmental impact statement from Minnesota on Line 3. And while the project has received approvals in Canada, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has filed a court challenge, citing Canada’s climate change commitments and other concerns about water and the environment.

Lawyer Tara Houska of the U.S. Indigenous environmental group Honor criticized Enbridge proceeding with its Dakota Access investment given the treatment of protesters.

Ms. Houska, who is originally from Minnesota, also said affected Indigenous people are opposed to the Line 3 project “across the board.”

On Thursday, Enbridge reported lower first-quarter earnings due to the timing of its $37-billion Spectra Energy Corp. takeover and warmer weather in Southern Ontario.

First-quarter earnings were $638-million or 54 cents a share, compared with $1.2-billion or $1.38 for the same quarter last year.

The change came as a result of a number of unusual and non-recurring factors, the company said, including the timing of the closing of its Spectra takeover, the impact of warmer-than-normal weather on gas distribution franchises, and transactions undertaken in 2016 to strengthen the balance sheet.

The first-quarter results reflect about one month of the financial contributions from the assets acquired in Enbridge’s takeover of Houston-based Spectra, which closed at the end of February.

The fact that profits from Spectra assets for January and most of February are not included in this year’s first-quarter results had a significant impact, Mr. Monaco said. Those two cold, high-gas volume months typically provide a disproportionate amount of earnings compared to the rest of the year.

But Enbridge says the creation of what is now North America’s largest infrastructure company will generate billions in additional profits this year. Its full-year, post-merger guidance stands at adjusted earnings of as much as $7.6-billion, before interest and taxes. That compares with about $4.7-billion.

“We’re very pleased with how the companies came together. We had a seamless Day-One transition, and integration-wise, we’re on track,” Mr. Monaco said on a conference call.

“When we account for the effects of closing in February, we’re where we expected to be.”

[SOURCE]

Enbridge Setting Stage For Big Project

Pipes are being stacked at Enbridge’s “storage” area located roughly 2 1/2 miles east of Morden on the south side of Highway 14

Written by Pam Fedack | PembinaValleyOnline.com, May 10, 2017

Enbridge is getting set for a major project that will snake its way through Southern Manitoba, and activity has been well observed in the Winkler and Morden area.

Over the last several weeks, pipes have been moving into the area by the truck and trainload to a storage site along the corridor between the two communities on the south side of Highway 3.

enbridge trains

Train cars parked in Winkler with Enbridge pipes side of Highway 3.

Enbridge Spokesperson, Suzanne Wilton said the company plans to replace their entire 1,600 kilometre main line, (Line 3) which runs from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. Wilton noted replacing the pipeline will make it safer and restore it to its full capacity.

Wilton said they have storage sites like the one between Winkler and Morden at various locations right across the entire length of the pipeline.  She said these storage sites allow them to mobilize and put pipe in storage so that’s it’s ready for when they need it.  “Pipe is the longest item of lead time, and so we procur the material well in advance, have it engineered and ready so that when we actually need it, we can fully mobilize.”

Enbridge received approval in Canada late last year to undertake this project, and Wilton said they are currently in the pre-construction phase.  “Of course all of this is pending U.S. regularatory approval,” said Wilton. “But given the long lead time of the project we’re now beginning some of those activies that’ll be required that when we do go into contruction, we’re ready.”

Wilton said the new Line 3 pipline is not scheduled into service until 2019.  She said they may start some construction sometime this summer, primarily in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  “This is just providing us plenty of lead time.  That pipe will stay in storage until we actually need to move it onto the right of way in the construction phase.”

Line 3, comes through Manitoba south of Brandon, runs down through the Morden area, and ultimately crosses the into the U.S. at Gretna.

[SOURCE]

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US officials to hold meeting on Alberta Clipper Pipeline

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Pipeline expansion spurs meeting in Bemidji

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Mar. 5, 2017 — State Department officials will come to Minnesota on Tuesday to hold the only public meeting on a draft environmental review for the final segment of Enbridge Energy’s project to boost capacity in its Alberta Clipper pipeline, which carries Canadian tar sands oil across northern Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.

The State Department’s four-year review concluded that there would be no significant environmental impacts from completing the project, which requires a presidential permit because the last remaining segment crosses the U.S.-Canadian border in North Dakota. But environmentalists and some Native American tribes dispute that and are gearing up for the meeting in the northern Minnesota city of Bemidji.

Here’s a look at some issues involved:

The pipeline

Enbridge built the Alberta Clipper, also known as Line 67, in 2009 for $1 billion. Its capacity was 450,000 barrels per day. Enbridge later decided to nearly double that to 800,000 barrels; the Calgary, Alberta-based company did most of that by adding pumping stations along the route.

Enbridge needs a presidential permit for the 3-mile segment where the 1,000-mile pipeline crosses the border. Getting the permit is a lengthy process. The Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Canada’star sands oilto Nebraska, for example, was derailed when President Barack Obama rejected its permit. President Donald Trump has invited Keystone XL developer TransCanada to reapply.

Enbridge is operating the Alberta Clipper at full capacity with a temporary workaround. It built a detour to and from a parallel pipeline that crosses the border nearby and already has a permit. Opponents challenged the legality of that setup in court but lost.

Why Enbridge wants it

Enbridge spokeswoman Shannon Gustafson called the Alberta Clipper “a vital piece of energy infrastructure” that bolsters America’s energy security because it lessens the need for imports from unstable nations. Midwest refineries depend on the oil that Enbridge pipelines deliver, she said.

“Pipelines continue to be the safest, most reliable means of transporting crude oil that Minnesotans and Midwesterners rely on in their daily lives,” Gustafson said.

Other Enbridge projects in the works are a proposed replacement for its 1960s-era Line 3 that would follow part of the same corridor. In fact, the Alberta Clipper detour uses an upgraded section of Line 3 to cross the border. Line 3 is also drawing opposition from tribes and environmentalists.

The opposition

A coalition of environmental and tribal groups opposes the Alberta Clipper because it carries tar sands oil, which they consider a bigger environmental threat than regular crude. The pipeline crosses the lake country of northern Minnesota, including the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac Ojibwe reservations. Opponents say it threatens ecologically sensitive areas, as well as resources such as wild rice that are important to the Ojibwe bands.

Some of the leading opponents, including Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth, were also active in the fight against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. LaDuke said protests that drew thousands to the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota have spawned new “water protectors” to oppose Enbridge.

LaDuke is organizing a “Sustainability Summit” for Tuesday ahead of the State Department meeting. Her event will highlight clean energy alternatives. Participants will then march to the meeting and hold a rally that will include traditional Ojibwe drumming and dancing.

The meeting

The State Department is holding Tuesday’s meeting as part of the public comment period on the draft environmental review, which runs through March 27. The agency will consider those comments as it prepares the final version. The president must then determine whether issuing the permit is in the national interest.

By The Associated Press

[SOURCE]