Commentary: Proposed line 3 replacement is responsible and best solution
Several portions of a March 19 commentary by Winona LaDuke require a response to provide readers with accurate information about our Line 3 Replacement Project.
Unfortunately, too much information presented by others about Enbridge's pipelines is narrowly focused and lacks the context about the important role that pipelines play as part of America's energy infrastructure and the work we do to operate our system safely and responsibly.
The Line 3 pipeline project provides a vital link between North American production regions and Minnesota, Wisconsin and Great Lakes and beyond refining centers, and ultimately the people who depend on gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products in their daily lives.
Enbridge is being responsible by proposing to replace Line 3. Replacement means maintaining our high safety standards and reducing future maintenance activities, which can result in disruptions to landowners and the environment. In Minnesota alone, we anticipate more than 6,000 maintenance digs to inspect and repair Line 3 over the next 15 years. Replacement is clearly the best solution.
Pipeline safety begins at design and construction, with best-in-class engineering practices, high-quality North American steel, special coatings and cathodic protection to guard the pipe from external corrosion, and comprehensive inspection and testing. Once oil is in the pipe, our top priority is to ensure its safe and reliable transportation to its destination. Enbridge deploys state-of-the-art safety systems and employs a research and development department to ensure our safety systems are on the leading edge.
Line 3 is safe in its current operation. The line undergoes rigorous preventative maintenance activities and inspections using state-of-the-art technology and a highly skilled labor force to keep it operating safely. These activities will continue until the new line is put into service.
Pending regulatory approval, once Line 3 has been replaced, we will deactivate the original Line 3 using a series of steps to thoroughly clean and prepare the pipeline to be idled. We will continue to monitor its condition on an ongoing basis. It is worth noting that the original Line 3 is located in the middle of other Enbridge pipelines that will continue to operate well into the future. Enbridge has safely deactivated more than 400 miles of pipelines in the U.S. in accordance with federal guidelines. We are responsible for our pipelines whether they are active or not, and we remain committed to protecting the environment and to public safety.
In the last few years, Enbridge has invested billions to ensure our operations and systems meet or exceed safety standards — to prevent releases, develop safer systems and train personnel.
For more than 65 years, our northern Minnesota pipeline operations have coexisted with Minnesotans' enjoyment of our water and precious natural resources. We have and will continue to work diligently to keep it that way — every day.