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County board supports Line 3 Replacement Project



The Carlton County Board of Commissioners voted to pass a resolution supporting the Line 3 Replacement Project during its regular afternoon meeting Monday, Oct 23.

The controversial proposed Line 3 replacement would enter Carlton County from Aitkin County and follow an existing electric transmission line corridor east through Cromwell until it connects to Interstate 35. At that point, it would travel north to the Chub Lake area and past Wrenshall until it leaves Carlton County.

The proposed route through Carlton County is different from the existing Line 3 route until it hits Wrenshall. The existing Enbridge mainline corridor, which includes Line 3, comes into Carlton County from St. Louis County and travels southeast through Perch Lake Township and the Fond du Lac Reservation, crossing Highway 210 and Interstate 35 before joining the proposed Line 3 replacement route outside of Wrenshall and exiting the county to Wisconsin.

The commissioners listened to several protesters speaking against the proposed project during a Committee of the Whole meeting in September.

All four speakers said they want the old pipeline to be taken out and paid for by Enbridge.

Enbridge's deactivation policy outlines the process of removing the oil from the existing pipeline, then cleaning and disconnecting the pipeline. They would cap it off in segments, but the pipeline will remain in place and continue to be monitored and maintained over the years.

One of the speakers said he hoped Carlton County would join Grand Rapids in requiring Enbridge to remove the old pipes from its area.

"There will be 56 potential significant spills on new lines in the next 50 years," local activist Sheila Lamb said. "There are leaks all the time. There were 804 in Wisconsin last year. They're trashing our home and Carlton County deserves better."

Enbridge employees attended the Sept. 5 meeting, but did not speak. The board members reiterated that the presentation was informational only and did not ask any questions at the time.

"I cannot speak for each individual commissioner, however, I am comfortable stating my belief that the commissioners, both individually and as a board have done due diligence in considering all of the factors in this matter," said Carlton County Coordinator Dennis Genereau when asked about the approval of the resolution supporting the project. "The Board is comfortable supporting the Line 3 Replacement project, in part because the project is intended to enhance the safety and reliability of the line. Enbridge has provided its word that protecting the environment is an important focus of this project, and the project will be economically beneficial to all taxpayers in Carlton County."

All commissioners voted in favor of the resolution except Tom Proulx, who abstained.

In other board news:

• Sheriff Kelly Lake told the commissioners she had accepted a $1,000 check from Kwik Trip, Inc. to be used for the Law Enforcement Explorer Program. There are six students participating in the program.

• The commissioners recently received copies of the complete jail study to read. The document is more than 100 pages long and should be presented during the 4 p.m. Dec. 5 regular board meeting at the Transportation Building.