Economic impact of Sandpiper project outlined
By Anna Erickson
Community leaders heard updates on a proposed Enbridge pipeline at a listening session last week in Park Rapids.
The Sandpiper Pipeline Project proposed by North Dakota Pipeline Company, LLC (Enbridge) would run from North Dakota to Superior, Wis.
“Why are we doing this project, what are the benefits and what’s going to come out of it?” asked Christine Davis, Enbridge community affairs spokesperson. “Three things: Energy independence, jobs and economic benefits and safety.”
The Sandpiper pipeline will transport light crude oil. The pipeline will follow existing utility rights-of-way for 75 percent of the route.
The proposed $2.6 billion pipeline is a key, long-term link from North Dakota to a variety of markets, according to Enbridge.
From Superior, the oil will be transported by Enbridge and other interconnected pipelines to refinery hubs in the United States and eastern Canada.
Enbridge filed with the Public Utilities Commission and applications for the route permit and certificate of need have been approved with a few conditions, Davis said.
Additional public informational meetings will be in March.
The proposed timeline for the project includes planning, design, outreach and permitting through late 2014, with construction beginning in late 2014 through 2016. The pipeline could be operational by 2016.
During construction, about 50 percent of the anticipated 1,500 construction jobs in Minnesota will be locally hired, Davis said. Local hospitality and other businesses could benefit too, she added.
She outlined Enbridge’s commitment to safety.
Enbridge’s goal is zero spills.
During the last 10 years, Enbridge has moved 13 billion barrels of crude oil with a safe delivery record of better than 99.999 percent, Davis said.
Some people have questioned the safety of the pipelines and have concerns about the environmental impacts.
Davis explained that Enbridge meets or exceeds regulatory guidelines and invests heavily in leak and damage prevention and pipeline integrity management.
“Shipping by pipeline is much safer than shipping by rail,” she said.
Based on anticipated project costs and current tax rates, Enbridge estimates that Sandpiper will provide approximately $25 million in additional annual property tax payments to Minnesota in its first year of operation. In Hubbard County, Enbridge estimates an additional $3 million annually in property tax revenue.
“We support this project,” said David Collins, executive director of the Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission (HCREDC).
Additional property taxes could result in lower taxes for other property owners in the county, he said.
Mike Monsrud, chairman of the HCREDC, and President and CEO of Itasca-Mantrap Electric Cooperative, said the potential tax revenue and jobs the pipeline could bring to the area are positive.
For more information about the project, call 855-788-7805 or go to www.enbridge.com/SandpiperProject.
Written comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or Enbridge Pipelines (North Dakota) LLC, Sandpiper Pipeline Project, 1409 Hammond Ave., Superior, WI 54880.