Enbridge’s Line 3: Replacing old infrastructure with safer, modern technology

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board recently published an opinion piece on the expected protests of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. Line 3 would replace an outdated pipeline built in the 1960s that has been operating at half capacity due to deterioration. Recent advancements in technology allow for much stronger, safer pipelines to be constructed, which is why Enbridge wants to modernize the route. Yet, environmental groups have already started recruiting protesters and promise to fight the project. Law enforcement and local officials fear these demonstrations may become a repeat of the prolonged Dakota Access Pipeline protests, which resulted in destruction of property, cost taxpayers millions of dollars, and ultimately delayed the completion of a much-needed component of midstream infrastructure.

Pipelines are the safest method of transportation for energy products. According to a 2017 report by the Association of Oil Pipelines and the American Petroleum Institute, pipelines deliver oil safely 99.999% of the time. The alternative to pipelines, trucks and trains, are much more high-risk. However, environmental activists refuse to acknowledge the facts and instead continue to vehemently oppose pipelines and the use of fossil fuels altogether. If these activists were truly more concerned about the environment, wouldn’t they recognize the value of pipelines over the alternatives? The editorial states:

Trucks and trains are the alternatives to pipelines, but they’re more dangerous and carbon-intensive. Between 16.5 million and 23.1 million gallons of Bakken crude pass through Minnesota by rail each day. The state’s Department of Transportation has warned that this heavy train traffic routinely delays emergency-response vehicles and “poses a threat of catastrophic fire in the event of a derailment and rupture of some of the tank cars.” A recent derailment 15 miles south of the Minnesota border spilled 230,000 gallons of oil, contaminating two rivers.

In addition to safely and efficiently transporting product, pipelines also provide great economic benefits. The editorial mentions that the project would support some 8,600 jobs and generate $20 million in property taxes during its first year. This tax revenue could benefit municipal services, including police, fire, schools, and other infrastructure.

It is time to prioritize our critical energy infrastructure. Upgrading existing pipelines, as well as constructing new ones, is key to keeping up with the shale boom and the record numbers of energy production in the United States. GAIN looks forward to the safe and efficient construction of Line 3 and the benefits it will bring to the energy industry and the local economies of the communities surrounding the pipeline.


To read the full editorial, click here


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