The Potluck

Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline to start running Friday

By: - October 1, 2021 12:16 pm

Welders worked on Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline near Hill City on Jan. 26, 2021. Rilyn Eischens/Minnesota Reformer.

Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline is set to start carrying oil Friday, the Canadian energy company announced.

The news follows more than six years of permitting, review and litigation, and nearly a year of construction to complete the 337-mile route through northern Minnesota. It’s a bitter disappointment for opponents of the pipeline, many of whom have spent months or years organizing against the project.

The pipeline replaces the existing Line 3, which was built in Minnesota in the 1960s and, according to Enbridge, required increasing maintenance as it aged. Existing Line 3 was running at 50% capacity as a result, and the new pipeline allows Enbridge to resume shipping about 31.9 million gallons of oil from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin each day.

“We are pleased that Line 3 is complete and will soon deliver the low cost and reliable energy that people depend on every day,” said Al Monaco, Enbridge President and CEO, in a news release.

Smaller segments of the Line 3 replacement also pass through North Dakota — which was completed in late 2020 — and Wisconsin, which became operational in early 2018. The entire project cost about $9.3 billion.

People opposed to the pipeline have said they’re mourning the loss of the fight against Line 3, but their work isn’t over. Many plan to continue advocating for solutions to Indigenous issues and climate change. They’re also still awaiting decisions in ongoing legal challenges to the project in federal and tribal court; state appeals courts upheld key permits for the project in two other legal challenges.

In a statement, Winona LaDuke, director of Indigenous environmental nonprofit Honor the Earth, thanked the thousands of people who joined efforts against the pipeline in Minnesota.

“Your brave efforts about Enbridge’s Line 3 have reshaped the world’s views on the climate crisis we are in, the Treaty Rights of the Anishinaabe, and the escalating divestment in fossil fuels around the world and here at home. You are the true heroes of this tragic saga,” LaDuke said.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn is a Minnesota native and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.