Audio: Line 3 Pipeline Project Manager Says There Will Be More Environmental Impacts if Old Line Isn’t Replaced


Enbridge oil pipeline markers dot the land near Leonard, Minn. (Bemidji Pioneer file photo)

UPDATE: This post originally said the public hearings were being held by Enbridge. That was an error. They’re being held by the State of Minnesota.

Public hearings regarding Line 3 pipeline replacement project have begun in Minnesota. And of course, because pipelines are a hot political topic these days, those hearings are featuring push back from people who don’t like pipelines.

Yesterday on my radio show I interviewed Barry Simonson who is the manager for the project, and I asked him about some of the criticisms.

You can listen to the answers below, but one point in particular stuck out to me. Simonson said the existing pipeline, the one Enbridge is hoping to replace through this project, was built in the 1960’s. That means it’s closing in on 60 years old. Currently Enbridge has to operate that line at lower pressure because of its age. If it’s not replaced the company is expecting it will need some 7,000 “integrity digs” to monitor and maintain it in the coming years.

That’s something which often gets overlooked during these pipeline protests.

We all use oil. Every single day. We don’t really have a good alternative to oil. If we stopped using our oil quality of life would plummet dramatically.

Since we’re not going to stop using oil any time soon, that means we have to drill for it and pump it and transport it to market. Pipelines are one of the best ways to do that safely and efficiently.

But if new pipelines, or replacement pipelines in this instance, are blocked what we’re left with is reliance on older infrastructure.

That’s not a good situation. You could almost argue that those opposed to pipelines are, when they’re successful in getting their way, are creating more risk than we’d have if we just built the pipelines.

Maybe anti-pipeline protesters are bad for the environment.

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