Commissioners back pipeline
Sandpiper Pipeline route mostly along existing utility right-of-way
The Carlton County Board of Commissions voted 4-0 November 12 to send a letter of support to the state Public Utilities Commission in support of a proposal by Enbridge to pursue a routing for its proposed Sandpiper Pipeline mostly along existing utility right-of-way across the eastern part of Carlton County.
“It just makes sense to use an existing route rather than to break new ground,” said Robert Olean, the chairman of the Carlton County Board and the commissioner who represents much of the land in the eastern part of the county where the pipeline is proposed to cross.
Olean had met with Enbridge officials to convey the board's concern about Enbridge’s initial proposal, which drew opposition from some farmers and others in the county. Representatives from some of those groups applauded the commissioners at the end of their meeting.
Jim Crawford, the project supervisor of the Sandpiper Pipeline Project, said, “We've appreciated the interest in developing a route that makes sense for each of us, spurred largely by the good ideas from Carlton County officials and landowners.”
“We have met with Carlton County officials, landowners and other county members to better understand their perspective on the Sandpiper Pipeline Project. Based on those discussions, a route has been developed that takes advantage of existing utility corridors, to the extent practicable. We've taken to heart each suggestion and concern shared with us.”
“As a next step, we will complete a construction and environmental assessment, contact and work with newly identified landowners impacted by this route. This work may take a few months,” Crawford said.
Enbridge has told Carlton County officials that based on the result of that work, their intent is to notify any new potentially affected landowners via the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Process and prepare a supplemental filing to the MN PUC that will include the new route as the preferred route in Carlton County.
According to Crawford, “We need to wait for the MN PUC to rule on the completeness of our current application before we can file the supplemental filing. We will keep you posted on the timing of that supplemental filing. It will likely be in early 2014.”
Enbridge Pipelines (North Dakota) LLC is proposing to build the Sandpiper Pipeline Project — an approximately 610-mile interstate crude oil pipeline — originating at their Beaver Lodge Station south of Tioga, North Dakota. The project will bring growing supplies of North Dakota crude oil to an existing terminal owned by an Enbridge affiliate in Superior, Wisconsin.
From Superior, the oil will be transported by Enbridge and other interconnected pipelines to refinery hubs in the United States and eastern Canada. According to Enbridge, the Sandpiper Pipeline Project will provide a long-term, stable and reliable source of crude oil for the U.S. and its refineries that supply petroleum products.
Enbridge says that at a local level, communities located along the Sandpiper route will benefit in the long-term from taxes associated with the pipeline and related facilities during the life of the pipeline. The company says that communities will also enjoy potential high-paying construction and manufacturing jobs, increased retail sales, food and lodging purchases, and equipment and materials purchases during construction.