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Judge Says Line 3 Replacement Should Follow Existing Route

An administrative law judge says Minnesota regulators should approve Enbridge Energy's proposal for replacing its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline only if it follows the existing route rather than the company's preferred route.

Administrative Law Judge Ann O'Reilly recommended Monday that the Public Utilities Commission choose the existing route, which avoids sensitive areas in the Mississippi River Headwater region where American Indians harvest wild rice and hold treaty rights. The commission is expected to make its final decision in June.

Line 3 was built in the 1960s, and Alberta-based Enbridge says a replacement is needed to ensure reliable deliveries of crude to Midwestern refineries.

Following today's recommendation, Enbridge spokesperson Jennifer Smith said in a written statement, "Enbridge is pleased that the Administrative Law Judge has listened to the extensive evidence that there's need for this safety-driven maintenance project." Smith says Enbridge is will be taking time to review in more detail the recommendation to use the existing right-of-way and will have additional comments to follow.


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