Enviros Come Out Against Replacing An Aging Pipeline With A Safer One

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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An aging pipeline running through Minnesota has been deemed no longer safe, but environmental groups are protesting efforts to build a newer, safer pipeline in its place.

Line 3 is a crude oil pipeline that stretches 1,097 miles from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin, running through Minnesota along the way. Constructed to hep the U.S. meet its growing need for oil, the pipeline still provides around 400 thousand barrels of oil a day.

However, Line 3 is very old. Originally built in the 1960s and put in operation by 1968, the pipeline has experienced serious degradation. Enbridge, the energy company that operates Line 3, says it has been forced to reduce oil output due to corrosion and other defects. The Canadian company now says a replacement pipeline is needed for safety reasons.

While government regulators appear to agree with Enbridge — the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in June unanimously approved their proposal — other groups are sharply opposed to the idea.

“They’re bringing highly toxic, highly poisonous tar sands oil directly through major watersheds and the last standing reserve of wild rice that the Ojibwe have to harvest,” Bill Paulson, a member of the Ojibwe tribe, stated to CNN. “Our culture is the wild rice and gathering and being out in the woods. If there’s a threat to that, then there’s a direct threat to the people.”

Paulson is no stranger to pipeline protests. He previously traveled to take part in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. However, Paulson doesn’t identify himself as a “protester,” but as a “water protector.” Numerous environmentalists and Native American groups claim the new pipeline — which will be constructed father south than the current one — will pose a threat to local resources. (RELATED: Protesters Resort To Tree-Sitting To Block Pipeline Construction)

Honor the Earth, a Minnesota-based environmental group, will hold its sixth annual, 10-day “Love water, not oil” horse ride tour along the new Line 3 route on July 28. “It is our responsibility as water protectors to prevent this. We will not allow Line 3 to desecrate our lands, violate our treaty rights, or poison our water,” read a statement from the group’s website.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has already approved the project, however, Line 3 has not yet cleared every hurdle. Enbridge is still required to apply for 29 federal, state and local permits before construction can begin.

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