Enbridge’s Secret: It Has Easements Allowing for More Pipelines in the New Corridor

Proposed Line 3 reroute.

Critics have been warning state policy makers about the bad precedent they would set by allowing Enbridge to abandon its old Line 3 tar sands pipeline in the ground and build a new and larger pipeline along a new route.

Boy were those critics right.

Enbridge seems to be planning ahead to abandon three other aging pipelines in the ground — each adding future clean-up costs to landowners and/or the state.

And Enbridge hasn’t been transparent about it.

The decision now is in the hands of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). It is expected to vote on Line 3 in June. If the PUC approves Enbridge’s proposal, it would be the first major crude oil pipeline abandonment in the state’s history.

Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly’s 370-page report on Line 3, issued to the PUC on April 23, raises significant concerns about Enbridge’s future plans.

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Line 3 Abandonment: Enbridge Wants to Leave its Mess for Someone Else to Clean Up

Enbridge’s current deteriorating Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline on the Fond du Lac Reservation. Erosion and other factors have exposed the pipeline above ground (2016). Photos by John Ratzloff.
Close-up of the corrosion on the exposed pipeline’s exterior.

One aspect of Enbridge’s proposed new Line 3 crude oil pipeline in Minnesota needs more scrutiny: The company’s plan to abandon its old Line 3 pipeline in the ground.

Enbridge is a multi-billion dollar company and runs the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system. Surely it can do better.

Minnesotans for Pipeline Cleanup recently released a report titled Enbridge’s Mess that highlights the problems around pipeline abandonment.

Line 3 would be the first crude oil pipeline abandonment in Minnesota history. What state leaders allow to happen now sets a precedent for all future pipeline abandonment. Further, Enbridge’s plan would shift future clean-up costs to the next generation of Minnesotans. Continue reading