Why Minnesota needs the Line 3 Replacement Project

Enbridge submits rebuttal testimony before Public Utilities Commission hearings

Late last month, as the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) began public hearings on Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 Replacement Project in Thief River Falls, Oliver Urdahl spoke of the need for the project.

“We need to have a steady supply of petroleum and its products to keep our nation strong,” said Urdahl, chairman of Viking Toswnship, MN. “It’s not just about Minnesota, which is very important.”

It absolutely is. On Wednesday, as the PUC hearing process continued in McGregor, MN, Enbridge reaffirmed the need for the Line 3 Replacement Project by submitting rebuttal testimony before the PUC in support of the project—testimony that clearly demonstrates the need for this project to ensure future adequacy, reliability and efficiency of energy supply in Minnesota and neighboring states.

Minnesota has no local crude oil supply, and Enbridge’s system is the exclusive pipeline source of crude supply for Minnesota refineries—which not only produce gas, but refined products such as diesel, jet fuel and asphalt that are equally important to Minnesotans.

The Line 3 Replacement Project, a safety and maintenance-driven initiative, would help to ensure that Minnesota and the surrounding region are connected to secure, reliable and growing supplies of North American crude oil. Enbridge meets nearly 80 percent of refining demand in the state of Minnesota, along with 100% in Wisconsin and over 70% in the broader Midwest.

With a private investment of more than US$2 billion in Minnesota alone, the project would replace 337 miles of existing pipe across Minnesota—and create well-paying jobs, an economic boost for local communities during construction, and local community investments and tax contributions for many years to come.

The incremental capacity restored by replacing Line 3 will address future growth, help regional refineries remain competitive and meet the energy needs of Minnesotans for decades to come.

Wednesday's rebuttal testimony focused on a number of essential topics:

  • Refineries in Minnesota and the Midwest currently can’t obtain all the crude supply they want, meaning higher costs and reduced competitiveness without the project;
  • There are no commercially viable potential alternatives to a new Line 3, and none of them would serve refineries in Minnesota (or the Midwest in any significant way);
  • Even under the most conservative forecasts, Enbridge’s pipeline system will remain fully utilized after replacement; and
  • The costly impact that shutting down Line 3 would cause in terms of halted property tax payments, the increase in crude-by-rail traffic (32 additional mile-long trains crossing the state every day), and the associated disruption to the state’s agricultural economy.

The Line 3 Replacement Project has the support of communities, landowners, labor and elected officials—and it’s essential to helping ensure Minnesota families and businesses have reliable access to affordable energy now and in the years ahead.