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Enbridge pipeline seeks approval, route protests persist

Lydia Gilbertson | Shale Plays Media Google+

Enbridge’s latest pipeline endeavors mostly concern the Sandpiper pipeline extension that runs from the Bakken oilfields to Superior, Wisconsin. On Thursday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s public comment session for the pipeline ended. Enbridge plans to invest $5 billion in Minnesota alone for building and upgrading pipeline infrastructure. The pipeline will add 3,000 construction jobs. Enbridge assures the states involved that safety is one of their top priorities, despite the massive pipeline rupture in 2010 that released 843,000 gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River.

The Fargo Forum reports:

“New technology in coatings and quality control, including X-rays of weldings, and other inspection tools to find cracks or compression or stresses in the line are all combining to make it safer, [Lee] Monthei [Enbridge Vice President of major projects execution] said. The answer, he said, is to use the latest technology and monitor it but at no time is a leak, especially in Minnesota, acceptable. The primary focus is prevention and there is a spill response plan to clean things up as quickly as possible, Monthei said.”

However, the pipeline expansion project has been met with a lot of opposition in Minnesota. The ‘Ride for Mother Earth’ campaign is a major movement against the project. It consists of a group of over a dozen horse riders that have been traveling along the proposed route to raise awareness of the risks involved with oil pipelines. They have supported alternative routes, but are foremost against pipelines in general.  The environmentalist group is led by Winona LaDuke, best known for running for Vice President with Ralph Nader in both 1996 and 2000.

Read More at the Forum in ‘Ride for Mother Earth’ protests pipeline route: ‘Honor Earth’ movement continues demonstrations or here in the Dickinson Press in Enbridge sees pipeline as fuel for energy independence, economic growth .

Related: Enbridge has invested $250 million in its terminals


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