June 18, 2018 02:38 PM
Final arguments over a controversial oil pipeline proposal began Monday at the Public Utilities Commission in St. Paul.
The PUC heard arguments on whether to approve Enbridge Energy's proposal to replace it's deteriorating Line 3 pipeline. Several people for and against the project sat in on the hearing.
Many wore t-shirts and held signs.
Lorraine Little of Enbridge Energy said the current pipeline was built in the late 1960s. Now it has integrity issues.
She said the pipeline operating at about half of its normal capacity, and she argued it is better to replace it than try to repair it.
"Replacing Line 3 is really the safest thing to do," she said. "We'd be replacing the line with new state of the art technology ... newer, safer infrastructure ... and we picked a route that we believe is the best for the project, the best for Minnesota in that it avoids sensitive, natural areas."
She said the new oil pipeline should not be voted down.
"This is an important project for Minnesota," Little said. "We supply about 80 percent of the crude oil for that feeds the two Twin Cities' refineries - 100 percent in Wisconsin and 70 percent around the Great Lakes.
So our system is important in order to keep business and agriculture running."
But activist Winona LaDuke with Honor the Earth was not buying it. She and others are concerned about the impact the project could have on the environment.
Including on the tribal land along the pipeline route.
LaDuke said she is already seeing construction equipment in her community, and she doesn't like it.
"I am deeply concerned about how it looks in my territory and what I want is peace .. what I want is peace," she said.
She wants environmental responsibility.
"They should clean up their mess." LaDuke said. "I have raised six children, and what I tell my children is clean up your old mess before you make a new mess.
'In this case, you shouldn't make a new mess in a new corridor."
Four days have been blocked off for oral arguments - two this week and two next.
The commission is expected to make a decision by the end of the month.
Updated: June 18, 2018 02:38 PM
Created: June 18, 2018 01:13 PM
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