Enbridge touts environmental record in Line 3 tours

The Canadian pipeline company is planning to spend $7.1 billion to overhaul a 50-year-old network that crosses into U.S. territory.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Updated Nov. 6, 2017 at 2:36 PM
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Nov. 3 (UPI) -- From the Canadian side of the border, pipeline company Enbridge Energy said it was putting its environmental record on display for its Line 3 overhaul.

Enbridge is proposing an overhaul of the Line 3 segment of a broader network that extends through parts of Canada and into the northern United States. The proposal for Line 3 includes a $4.2 billion Canadian component and a $2.9 billion U.S. component. Enbridge said replacements and upgrades to the 50-year-old system are the most efficient way to ensure the infrastructure is reliable.

The company said it hosted tours of parts of the activity under way on the Canadian side of the border for members of the indigenous community. Brad Kilgour, an environmental advisor for the company, said the latest tour included a drilling site under the Saskatchewan River.

"I've been at lots of community events and open houses before, but the opportunity for them to see this type of activity first-hand was, I think, valuable to them," he said in a statement. "Enbridge is doing some really good things on this project, and we really like to show what we're doing."

The State Department under President Donald Trump said Enbridge could move forward with plans to utilize a three-mile section of its Alberta Clipper oil pipeline across the border. The company three years ago connected Alberta Clipper to its existing Line 3 pipeline through to the United States while it waited for approval for the new cross-border section. Enbridge now says it needs to make improvements on its Line 3 system that runs from Canada through Minnesota.

Construction on the entire network to a terminal in Wisconsin began in 2010 and Enbridge had used existing corridors to facilitate the shipment of nearly 900,000 barrels of oil per day.

A pipeline incident tied to Husky Energy in 2016 put about 1,500 barrels of oil on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. The heavier type of oil found in Canada has the potential to sink in water and mix in with river sediment, making cleanup operations complex. A spill from an Enbridge system in Michigan in 2010 was the largest inland incident in modern U.S. history.

The Line 3 proposal is under review still in the United States. Some public hearings of the plans in Minnesota were canceled by authorities because of "logistical and safety issues" stemming from protests.

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