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Commentary: Move forward on Line 3 pipeline project

Last week, I and more than three dozen legislators signed a letter asking DFL Governor Mark Dayton to tell the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Public Utilities Commission to move forward with the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement project. The federal government ordered the corroding pipeline replaced during the Obama administration, and the project has been subject to a significant public comment process.

This pipeline shouldn't be controversial, but Democrats are protesting the project claiming that it is bad for the environment. The problem is, replacing the pipeline is the best thing to do to protect our environment and citizens. If the existing pipe is allowed to corrode, the oil being transported in that pipe is at a greater risk of escaping into the surrounding land. What is more, transporting oil through a pipeline is far safer than transporting by rail.

The letter I and my fellow legislators signed points out that the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Public Utilities Commission have consistently drawn out the process beyond what timeframes are dictated by law, which has delayed this important project.

Enbridge has provided well-paying jobs to folks in Greater Minnesota. Finishing the Line 3 Replacement Project will provide tax revenue to the communities around it, and give jobs that can support families to people in rural communities.

Replacement of the Line 3 pipeline will mean more than $3 billion in private investment and create thousands of good-paying jobs along the route. The letter also raised concerns over the risk to the environment if the line is not replaced.

With the required Environmental Impact Statement now finished, the project has completed all procedural hurdles it needs to. A final decision, to be made by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commissioner, is expected next spring.

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