Hearings on Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline open in St. Paul

A hearing opens in St. Paul on Wednesday on whether Enbridge Energy should be allowed to replace a stretch of its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline that crosses northern Minnesota.

The 12-day “evidentiary hearing” before an administrative law judge will be a trial-like proceeding to gather information to help the Public Utilities Commission decide whether the project is needed.

Line 3 carries crude oil from Alberta to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Enbridge wants to replace the 282 miles of the existing pipeline in Minnesota, which was built in the 1960s, with a new 337-mile pipeline. Construction is already underway on segments in Canada and Wisconsin.

Environmental and tribal groups oppose the higher-capacity pipeline, saying it would contribute to climate change and pose an unacceptable risk of oil spills.