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LETTER: Approve Line 3 and preferred route

The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project is necessary and beneficial to Minnesota and in the national interest. It will ensure the continued safe, reliable and economic delivery of energy needed by people in the region and other parts of the country.

This was confirmed by the recent recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Ann O'Reilly, who recognizes the need to replace this critical piece of infrastructure and the economic importance a modernized Line 3 will have across the state. The ALJ said replacement of Line 3 is "reasonable and prudent."

However, the ALJ's suggestion of an alternative route to the one proposed by Enbridge ignores the thousands of pages of evidence that the preferred route is the safest, and it best protects the environment and communities. It avoids high-population centers, drinking water supplies and environmentally sensitive areas. The preferred route also has the least impact on Native American tribes and their cultural resources.

When judging the merits of the project, I would like to encourage people to consider both the benefits and potential risks of the Line 3 Replacement Project. The benefits of the project to Minnesota and the nation as a whole greatly outweigh the potential risks. Modern society requires safe, reliable and economic delivery of energy. Substantial replacement of hydrocarbon energy with renewable energy is not on the short-term horizon. Hydrocarbon fuels will be a significant portion of the energy portfolio for decades to come, so it is very important that aging pipeline infrastructure be replaced.

The replacement of Line 3 is an essential project for ensuring the environmental protection of our important natural resources and for ensuring the safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation of crude oil to refineries in Minnesota, the Midwest and beyond. I encourage the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to approve the project and also recommend the preferred route.

Jerry Christoff

Regional services manager, Midwest Region, Enbridge Energy Co.