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Line 3 is an existing 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline, originally installed in the 1960s, that extends from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, and is an integral part of Enbridge's Mainline System.
The Line 3 Replacement Program is an integrity and maintenance driven project, and spans from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin and consists of 1,031 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline. The U.S. portion of the Line 3 Replacement Program (from Neche, North Dakota, through Minnesota, to Superior, Wisconsin) is referred to as the Line 3 Replacement Project.
Safe and reliable operations are the foundation of Enbridge's business, and maintaining pipeline safety through the integrity management program is essential. As part of our routine maintenance program, Enbridge conducted an assessment of the Line 3 pipeline in 2013. The assessment identifies strategic and efficient means for maintaining system integrity, including additional in-line tool runs, investigatory digs or segment replacement. Enbridge further determined that a replacement of Line 3 was best to maintain system integrity while minimizing disruption to landowners and communities.
The proposed 36-inch replacement pipeline will serve the same purpose as the existing Line 3, which is the transportation of crude oil from Canada to the Enbridge Clearbrook Terminal near Clearbrook, Minnesota and on to Enbridge’s Superior Station and Terminal Facility near Superior, Wisconsin. The replacement pipeline will restore the historical operating capabilities of Line 3, and is generally expected to serve the same markets, and transport the same product mix as the current Line 3. The line is physically equipped to transport all grades of crude oil, and the type of crude oil transported in the future (as in the past) will be based on shipper demand. Upon replacement, the average annual capacity of Line 3 will be 760 kbpd.
The Line 3 Replacement Program is an approximate $7.5 billion private investment, making it one of North America’s largest infrastructure programs. Under the Line 3 Replacement (L3R) Project ($2.6 billion investment in the U.S.), the majority of the existing Line 3 will be fully replaced with new 36-inch diameter pipeline and associated facilities from Neche, North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin. This includes about 13 miles in North Dakota, 337 miles in Minnesota, and 14 Miles in Wisconsin. The Project will include construction of four new pump stations, upgrades to four existing pump stations and approximately 27 strategically placed valves. Segments of Line 3 from the Canadian border to Neche, ND and near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border to the Superior terminal are being replaced under separate segment replacement projects.
In the U.S. the L3R Project is comprehensively regulated at both federal and state levels – including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as state regulators (North Dakota Public Service Commission, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, and Public Service Commission of Wisconsin). Various other applicable federal and state environmental permitting agencies will be involved in the environmental review and analysis of the L3R Project.
Preferred Route Selection Process
Enbridge developed the Project’s preferred route based on its extensive pipeline routing experience, knowledge of applicable federal and state regulations, as well as agency, landowner and other input.
Enbridge first considered where the Project must enter, deliver within, and exit Minnesota in order to meet the needs of shippers served by Line 3. Enbridge next identified and analyzed routing constraints and opportunities, and identified and analyzed route alternatives.
Once a general route location was identified, Enbridge conducted detailed environmental and engineering survey work to further refine the route to avoid or minimize human and environmental impacts, as well as identify appropriate mitigation measures to limit potential impacts during Project construction and operation. The resulting preferred route meets the Project’s purpose, maximizes opportunities for colocating within a utility corridor, and minimizes potential impacts.
The Project route, facility design, and construction procedures have been designed to minimize impacts on the environment. Environmental impacts related to construction of the pipeline will primarily be related to temporary disturbance to land, wetlands, and waterbodies. Environmental impacts related to operations of the pipeline will primarily be related to maintenance repairs and mowing activities.
In 2014, Enbridge started working with federal, state, and local regulatory agencies to design Project plans and permit conditions to minimize impacts to the environment. Enbridge has already committed to a variety of resource-specific mitigation measures, which are detailed in Section 7 of the Route Permit. Enbridge will retain environmental inspectors (EIs) during Project construction who will be responsible for understanding all regulatory requirements and permit conditions, and ensuring that contractors abide by these conditions. The Project will also be supervised by third-party environmental monitors who will report any concerns directly to appropriate agencies.