Enbridge Energy says it's time to consider economic spin-off from pipeline expansions

By KBJR News 1

June 21, 2014 Updated Jun 21, 2014 at 7:13 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Following a Minnesota Administrative Law Judge's backing of the proposed "Alberta Clipper" pipeline expansion across Northern Minnesota, Enbridge Energy says it's time to consider the economic benefits that would spin off from their overall $5 billion infrastructure investment.

If approved by the state Public Utilities Commission, Enbridge officials say the Line 67, or "Alberta Clipper," pipeline expansion would boost the pipeline's capacity to 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

But construction of the proposed Sandpiper pipeline, which would bring oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to Superior, would be more than just a job creator, say officials.

Lorraine Little, of Enbridge Energy, says construction of the $2.6 billion project alone would bring about 1,500 good paying construction jobs.

"And then it also means economic spin–off for the communities that will see that construction, and that's people staying in hotels, and eating at restaurants, and buying gas, and those kinds of things," said Little Friday, "so it's bigger than just the workers that will be on the pipeline. There's a lot of spin–off in the community."

The Sandpiper line has not been approved, and the public comment period had been extended from April to the end of May at the request of environmental organizations like Honor the Earth, and the Friends of the Headwaters group.

Both organizations are encouraging people to learn more about proposed alternate routes for the Sandpiper that would divert the course closer to the Twin Cities.

The PUC will decide if it will consider alternative routes in mid–July.

Billy Wagness