FILE: Protest against the Enbridge Line 3 replacement in Minnesota.
Enbridge Line 3 meetings postponed after protests erupt
Minnesota regulators postponed a meeting Tuesday on Enbridge Energy’s planned Line 3 replacement after pipeline opponents disrupted the meeting with a bullhorn and a boombox.
Protests erupted as the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met to discuss whether Enbridge met conditions earlier imposed by the panel. The PUC approved the project in June, giving Enbridge a green light to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across Minnesota.
Opponents in the back of the PUC hearing room took out a bullhorn and made speeches aimed at the commissioners, the Star Tribune reported.
“You should all be ashamed,” one protester said.
PUC Chairwoman Nancy Lange recessed the meeting but eventually canceled it when a protester playing music on a boombox refused to turn it off.
Several opponents sat with their backs facing the commissioners. Their shirts featured slogans such as “Enbridge lap dogs.”
In a statement, Enbridge said it was “unfortunate that a small group of people derailed” the meeting. The Canadian-based company said the conditions that were up for discussion were intended to “protect Minnesotans.”
“We acknowledge that the process has been long and difficult and raised many passionate interventions. But what happened today crossed the line,” Enbridge said.
State Rep. Dan Fabian, a Roseau Republican who chairs the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, also criticized the protesters.
“Minnesota is better than this nonsense,” Fabian said in a statement. He called on Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration, the PUC and local law enforcement “to do whatever necessary to prevent disruptions like this from happening in the future.”
Line 3 runs from Alberta, Canada, across North Dakota and Minnesota to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Enbridge wants to replace the line, which it built in the 1960s and is running at only about half its original capacity. The replacement would restore its original capacity. But Native American and environmental activists contend the new line risks spills in fragile areas.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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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:
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.
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 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.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce in Calgary on Wednesday. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press )
Alberta’s climate change ‘leadership’ paved way for pipeline approvals, says Justin Trudeau
Staff | CBC News: Dec 21, 2016
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it was the Alberta government’s leadership role in tackling climate change that allowed him to approve two major pipeline projects.
He said that without the carbon tax introduced by NDP Premier Rachel Notley, Ottawa would not have been able to justify green-lighting the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Enbridge’s Line 3 project.
“The fact that we are able to move forward on approving two significant, important pipeline projects for Alberta was directly linked to the leadership this Alberta government has shown … around the impacts of climate change,” he told reporters in Calgary.
The prime minister spoke earlier in the day at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce year-end breakfast.
Trudeau said opposition parties in Alberta that have vowed to scrap the carbon tax — which comes into effect Jan. 1 — don’t understand the new political dynamics at work.
Trudeau speaks to Arlene Dickinson at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce event. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)
He said putting a price on carbon and capping carbon dioxide emissions from the oilsands are necessary measures for Canada to move ahead with big projects such as pipelines, while still protecting the environment.
“Quite frankly, the fact that there are a number of opposition politicians out there who bizarrely seem to be crossing their fingers that these pipelines will not get built under this current government, I think, is really dismaying, and should be dismaying for Albertans,” he said.
Trudeau said his predecessor, Stephen Harper, who claimed to be a champion for Alberta’s energy sector, was unable to deliver on pipeline approvals because he, too, refused to accept that getting energy resources to market in the 21st century requires responsible leadership on the environment.
Keystone back on agenda
During a question and answer session following his speech at the chamber, Trudeau said he supports a renewed push to get the Keystone XL pipeline built, a project U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has vowed to approve shortly after he takes office.
Trudeau told the business audience that he and Trump discussed Keystone in their first conversation after the U.S. election.
“He actually brought up Keystone XL and indicated that he was very supportive of it,” Trudeau said during a question-and-answer session after his speech.
“I will work with the new administration when it gets sworn in … I’m confident that the right decisions will be taken.”
The 830,000 barrel per day pipeline would carry oilsands crude from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest. It was rejected by the Obama administration last year.
Trump has previously said he would approve the pipeline but wanted a “better deal” for the United States.
Trudeau said if the United States takes a step back on fighting climate change under Trump, Canada will capitalize.
Climate change is a fact and fighting it is where the rest of the world is going, he said.
And while there might be short-term benefit in ignoring it now, he said, if Canada sticks to its plan, the country will be attractive to investors who are looking decades down the road.
Pipelines safer than rail, PM says
Trudeau said moving crude oil via pipeline is safer for the environment and more economical than moving it by rail.
Almost all of Canada’s oil is currently exported to the U.S. Pipelines that carry oil from Canada are at capacity, so a lot of it is going by rail. Canadian oil also faces a significant discount in U.S. Midwest refineries because it’s heavier and more expensive to refine than light crude.
Alberta’s premier could find herself at odds with both Trudeau and Trump on the issue of Keystone, said Duane Bratt, who teaches policy studies at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
“She hasn’t said a word, one way or the other, about Keystone, since the American election. And she had always been opposed to it,” he said.
“It was easy to be opposed to it when you saw that Obama was about to get rid of it.”
Calgary on Ottawa’s mind
Trudeau said his government’s decision to green-light Trans Mountain and Line 3 shows that Calgary is top of mind in Ottawa under his leadership.
“What happens in Calgary is important. It’s important to Alberta and all of Canada,” he said.
“And as I said in making the announcement, these approvals are a major win for Canadian workers, for Canadian families and for the Canadian economy.”
Trudeau said the projects will create upward of 22,000 jobs and demonstrate to Canada and the world that responsible resource development can happen in concert with solid environmental protections.
“That way of thinking, that we have to choose between growing the economy and protecting the environment, simply doesn’t work,” he said.
Cheers from business crowd
Speaking ahead of Trudeau’s address, Calgary Chamber of Commerce president Adam Legge drew a round of applause from the business crowd as he praised the Liberal government for approving Line 3 and Trans Mountain in the face of stiff opposition from environmentalists.
“We thank you for your leadership and your courage in that decision,” he said.
“Getting more resources to market was a critical missing element of our national infrastructure. We are all buoyed by this decision and are ready to get to work.”
Tyrone Cattleman, a member of the local plumbing and pipefitting union who came to hear the prime minister speak, said he’s optimistic about the new pipeline projects.
“I really hope he goes through with those plans, to create more jobs for the younger generation,” he said.
Pipeline construction in British Columbia. (Gary Campbell For The Globe and Mail)
By Christopher Adams in Analysis, Energy | Sept 22nd 2016
Several large Canadian pipeline projects are continuing to move through the approval process in the face of mounting opposition.
Although there have been setbacks, industry lobby groups are aggressively pushing back against arguments that their projects aren’t compatible with action on climate change.
Keystone XL was rejected by U.S. President Barack Obama, prompting a lawsuit. Trans Mountain is facing fierce opposition from environmentalists and indigenous leaders in B.C.. The Energy East hearings derailed after a National Observer report detailed private meetings between review panelists and a TransCanada consultant, former Quebec premier Jean Charest.
The latest development came Tuesday when proponents of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline said they will not appeal a Federal Court of Appeal decision in June to quash Ottawa’s approval of the $7.9-billion project. The federal government then announced it won’t appeal, either. The court had ruled the approval must be set aside because government had failed in its duty to consult with aboriginal people.
And on the land of two First Nations in Canada — the Mohawk in Montreal and the Musqueam in Vancouver — Indigenous nations across North America signed a historic pan-continental treaty allianceon Thursday against oilsands expansion in their traditional territory.
As opposition mounts, here’s an update on the status of all major LNG and oil pipeline projects in Canada.
A look at the route of Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project, which would carry 525,000 barrels per day just northeast of Edmonton to Kitimat, B.C. Graphic from Enbridge’s Northern Gateway website.
Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline would ship 525,000 barrels per day of oilsands crude from northeast of Edmonton to Kitimat, B.C.. Its goal is to sell Alberta crude to Asian markets. A parallel line would bring 193,000 bpd of toxic bitumen-thinning diluent in the opposite direction.
Northern Gateway has been hugely controversial. The idea of crude-oil laden supertankers navigating the choppy waters of the Douglas Channel on their way out to the Pacific is a non-starter for many British Columbians. The line also crosses tracts of unceded First Nations territory in B.C., which has many aboriginal groups — especially on the coast — staunchly opposed to it.
Until the June court decision, Enbridge held a federal permit to build Northern Gateway, granted in mid-2014. On Tuesday, the company urged the federal government to meet its constitutional obligations to meaningfully consult with First Nations and Metis to get the project back on track.
A graphic shows the proposed route of TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta and Saint John, New Brunswick. Graphic from National Energy Board website in September 2016.
TransCanada Corp., the same company behind Keystone XL, applied to the National Energy Board in October 2014 to build the Energy East Pipeline. The $15.7-billion project aims to ship 1.1-million barrels of Alberta crude a day across six provinces and 4,600 kilometres.
The pipeline would supply crude to import-dependent eastern refineries, as well as export landlocked Alberta oil to Europe and India. Energy East would repurpose existing natural gas pipe for about two thirds of the route and build new pipe through Quebec and New Brunswick.
Three days of National Energy Board hearings were held in August in Saint John, but hearings in Montreal the following week were postponed and then cancelled after protesters disrupted proceedings. They accused panellists of bias after reports published by National Observer revealed that two of them had met privately in January 2015 with former Quebec premier Jean Charest, a consultant for TransCanada Corp. at the time.
In early September, the three-member panel recused themselves. NEB chief executive Peter Watson and vice-chair Lyne Mercier gave up their responsibility to appoint a new panel, instead leaving the job to the government. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has said the promised 21-month review process for Energy East could be “modestly” delayed as a new panel is chosen.
TransCanada says construction would begin shortly after approval, with the goal of shipping oil in 2021.
TransCanada applied for U.S. permission to build its Keystone XL pipeline in September 2008. The idea was to extend an existing cross-border pipeline to give oilsands crude a more direct route to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.
At the time, TransCanada thought the XL segment would make its way through the regulatory process just as smoothly as the previous phases. It was wrong.
The stretch of pipe cutting a diagonal line from the Saskatchewan-Montana border to southern Nebraska became the focal point of the environmental movement. Debate over Keystone XL centred not only on the environmental impacts on the American Heartland in the event of a spill, but on its broader role in hastening climate change.
After a seven-year regulatory saga, U.S. President Barack Obama rejected Keystone XL last November. Now, TransCanada has set in motion a US$15-billion challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement, arguing it was treated inequitably. It has also launched a separate federal lawsuit seeking a declaration that Obama overstepped his constitutional power.
The Canadian arm of U.S. energy giant Kinder Morgan is aiming to nearly triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline to 890,000 barrels of oil per day. The existing Trans Mountain line currently has capacity to ship 300,000 bpd of various petroleum products from the Edmonton area to the B.C. Lower Mainland and Washington State.
The $6.8-billion project has faced stiff opposition from those who don’t want to see more crude-filled tankers moving through the Burrard Inlet. Protesters held up survey work on Burnaby Mountain late last year.
Kinder Morgan filed its regulatory application for the Trans Mountain expansion in late 2013. The National Energy Board hearing process for Trans Mountain has been highly criticized, with commenters and intervenors withdrawing from the process. The board has issued 157 draft conditions that Kinder Morgan must meet if the project is to be approved, and the company says that’s achievable.
In November, a report is due from a three-person federal review panel doing indigenous consultations. The federal government has vowed to decide whether or not to approve Trans Mountain before the end of December.
Pacific Northwest LNG
The $36-billion Pacific Northwest LNG project is a liquefaction and export facility and pipeline on northeast British Columbia’s Lelu Island. Led by Malaysia’s state-owned energy giant Petronas, the controversial project — which is still awaiting federal approval — would export B.C. LNG to Asian markets and would add an estimated $2.9-billion annually to Canada’s GDP. Petronas also estimates that, if approved, the project would generate up to 4,500 jobs during peak construction.
The Pembina Institute claims that the project could become the largest source of carbon emissions in Canada and that its construction would “seriously undermine” Canada’s commitment to emission reduction targets set in Paris late last year. If constructed, Pembina says the single project would take up as much as 87 per cent of B.C.’s 2050 allowed emissions under the provinces legislated target.
Construction would take around four years, with Petronas hoping to start exporting LNG to Asia by 2020 to 2021. A decision is expected in early October following a final report from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
But this project is also facing some controversy due to recent reports of turmoil at Petronas, the Malaysia state energy company that is the lead shareholder of the project. The Vancouver Sun reported this week about a “jaw-dropping” audit showing that Petronas was “struggling with major safety and structural problems in its Malaysian offshore operations.”
Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre gas pipeline and LNG facility
Woodfibre LNG Limited is currently awaiting a final investment decision on its LNG processing and export facility just outside of Squamish, B.C. housed in the former Woodfibre pulp mill facility.
The $1.6-billion project received the federal stamp of approval earlier this year when Environment and Climate Change Canada said that the project is “not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.” Opponents of the project criticized the Trudeau government for approving the project, citing dangers to local aquatic wildlife and broken election promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Woodfibre LNG Limited estimates that the facility could export around 2.1-million tonnes of LNG per year to markets in Asia.
The provincial government also gave environmental approval to FortisEnergy B.C.’s Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Gas Pipeline project, which would see an additional 47 kilometre pipeline built to transport natural gas from Vancouver Island to the Woodfibre facility outside Squamish.
Enbridge obtained regulatory approval for its Line 9B reversal and expansion project in March 2014. The original Line 9 has been in the ground for four decades and had been running from Montreal to southwestern Ontario since 1998. But given shifting market dynamics, Enbridge decided to restore its flow to its original west-to-east configuration.
That would enable crude to get to Quebec refineries, like Suncor Energy’s facility in eastern Montreal. The project also involves boosting the line’s capacity to 300,000 barrels a day from 240,000 barrels.
Work on the project has been complete since the fall of 2014. The National Energy Board gave its blessing to start Line 9B last year and it is currently operational.
Enbridge receivedapproval from the National Energy Board to expand and modernize its aging Line 3 pipeline on April 25, 2016. The replacement project, described as the Calgary-based pipeline company’s largest, is expected to double the amount of crude piped from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin to 760,000 barrels per day. The company will spend $7.5-billion to replace the 50-year-old pipeline infrastructure, nearly doubling the pipeline’s carrying capacity.
Although it already has presidential approval — the stamp that Keystone XL never received — Enbridge recently pushed its expected completion date back to 2019 due to other regulatory restrictions in the U.S.
-With files from Elizabeth McSheffrey and The Canadian Press’s Dan Healing.