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Appeals Court Ruling Will Delay Line 3 Replacement, Again

On Monday the Minnesota Court of Appeals stated an environmental review of Enbridge’s controversial Line 3 oil pipeline was “inadequate” because it did not consider the effects of an oil spill in Lake Superior’s watershed, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The ruling is the latest delay in replacing aging oil pipeline, which is operating at half of its potential capacity due to safety concerns.

The ruling is bizarre because new pipelines, like new cars, are much safer than their older counterparts. In fact, according to data from the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), since 2010 there have been 1,300 pipeline spills, leaking a total of approximately 212,000 barrels of oil. This amounts to an annual average of 216 total spills leaking approximately 35,317 barrels of oil per year. This means more than 99.9 percent of all the crude transported via pipeline in 2015 is estimated to have safely reached its destination.

New pipelines have sophisticated leak detection technology. In fact, a spill in the Keystone Pipeline (the finished portion) in November 2017 prompted outrage from liberal environmentalists, but a look at the amount of oil that leaked from the pipeline indicates operators noticed the leak and shut the pipeline down within 12 minutes. This is quite astounding considering the national average response time for police responding to a 9-11 call is 11 minutes. In many rural communities, it’s much longer. That means pipeline operators can respond to emergencies at least as quickly as emergency responders can.

While the Court of Appeals ruling is disappointing, the fact that the Court understands this ruling may ultimately harm the environment is encouraging, in a way:

“I also have concerns that our decision today will have the further unintended consequence of delaying the replacement of Line 3, which could pose a serious threat to our environment including Lake Superior,” Connelly wrote. “Existing Line 3 has been in operation since the 1960s, has suffered a high amount of corrosion and long-seam cracking, and must be replaced under a consent decree between Enbridge and the Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard.”

The largest, and most egregious challenge Enbridge faces in replacing Line 3 remains the Governor’s office and the Commerce Department, which claim Enbridge failed to make the case that the oil from the pipeline would be needed in the future. This argument is stunningly divorced from our energy reality. According to data from the Energy Information Administration, oil is the single-largest source of energy used by Minnesotans, accounting for 35 percent of our total energy consumption.

The U.S. can either import oil from Canada, our friendly, hockey-loving neighbors to the North, or we can import it from countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Line 3 will play a crucial role in enhancing North America’s energy independence, while simultaneously depriving corrupt Petro-States like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela of the revenue they need to continue playing the “bad guys” on the world stage.

You’d think with all the Collusion talk that folks on the left would be tickled pink to deprive Putin of oil revenue, but what’s a few ruble among anti-pipeline activists?

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