New round of Line 3 public hearings begins

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ST. PAUL — Another round of statewide public hearings starts Tuesday, Sept. 26, on the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement.

This set of hearings could be among the last before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission makes its decision on whether or not to grant the pipeline a certificate of need and route permit. That decision is expected next spring; Enbridge hopes to have the pipeline up and running in 2019.

Protests have already begun over the project as Enbridge continues seeking the state's permission to build 337 miles of pipeline across Minnesota to replace its nearly 50-year-old Line 3 that brings oil from Alberta to the company's terminal in Superior, Wis. The new pipeline would take a largely new route across the state, and the old line would be cleaned out and left in the ground in most areas.

The $6.5 billion pipeline would carry 760,000 barrels of oil per day, bringing the line back to its original capacity. Construction has already begun in Wisconsin and Canada.

All upcoming hearings take place from 1-4 p.m. and from 6-9 p.m. Those wishing to speak are encouraged to show up early to sign up for a spot, as the hearings will end with the last speaker.

• Sept. 26: Ralph Engelstad Arena, 525 Brooks Ave., Thief River Falls

• Sept. 28: Intercontinental Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul

• Oct. 10: IRA Civic Center, 1401 NW Third Ave., Grand Rapids

• Oct. 11: East Lake Community Center, 36666 State Highway 65, McGregor

• Oct. 12: Grand Casino, 777 Lady Luck Drive, Hinckley

• Oct. 17: Sanford Center, 1111 Event Center Drive NE, Bemidji

• Oct. 18: The DECC, 350 Harbor Drive, Duluth

• Oct. 25: Cross Lake Community Center, 14126 Daggett Pine Road, Cross Lake

• Oct. 26: River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud

Evidentiary hearings — trial-like proceedings open to the public but not public comment — will begin in St. Paul Nov. 1 and continue as long as Nov. 15. An administrative law judge will then take the accumulated record and issue a findings of fact and conclusions of law to aid the PUC in its decision.

Public comments will be accepted on the Line 3 replacement through 4:30 p.m. Nov. 22. They can be made at mn.gov/puc/line3/participate/comment or sent to publicadvisor.puc@state.mn.us, by fax to (651) 297-7073 or to Scott Ek, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 121 Seventh Place E., Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101. Include docket numbers 14-196 or 15-137 when submitting comments.

Separate comments on the adequacy of the final environmental impact statement for the project will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. Monday and can be directed to the same locations above with the subject "Line 3 Project Final EIS Adequacy."