Enbridge Proposal Sparks Debate in Carlton

Nearly 400 Miles of New Pipeline Could be Added in Minnesota

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Around 60 people turned out for a public meeting in Carlton, Wednesday morning.

The topic of discussion: Enbridge Energy’s proposed Pipeline 3 Replacement Project.

The current pipeline opened 47 years ago and runs from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior.

Enbridge says the pipeline is currently opperating at a reduced capacity due to voluntary pressure reductions and the new pipeline would allow for a return to full capacity.

The current pipe is 34 inches wide, while the new pipe would be 36 inches wide.

The proposed replacement pipeline would start in Hardisty, Alberta reducing its length by nearly 70 miles. 

With an overall length of  1,031 miles the proposed project would run 373 miles through Minnesota and 14 miles in Wisconsin. 

Enbridge says the project would create 1,500 jobs in Minnesota and require a $2.1 billion investment.

Several individuals representing local trade organizations spoke out in favor of the project. 

Not all comments were favorable, though.

Several parties spoke out against the project and its potential environmental hazards.

A major topic of concern was the existing pipeline.

Enbridge representatives said the existing pipeline would be emptied, cleaned, filled with inert gas and capped, but not removed from the ground.

When questioned by citizens, Enbridge engineer Mitch Repka said removing the pipe posed safety concerns.

Repka said there are several locations where the existing pipe crosses other pipelines making it too difficult to safely remove.

Enbridge said the existing pipeline 3 will still be monitored along with the rest of the pipelines in the area.

The explanation did not satisfy project opponents, like Minnesota Environmental Partnership Representative Andrew Slade, who believe Enbridge will be abandoning the pipeline. 

A final meeting is scheduled to take place at the East Lake Community Center, Thursday.

Anyone who would like to submit written comments about the pipeline should e-mail them to Jamie.macalister@state.mn.us no later than September 30.

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