Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

New oil pipeline comments welcome


Carlton County area residents are asked to express their concerns and ideas for the proposed route of the Sandpiper Oil Pipeline across Carlton County public and private lands on Thursday, March 13 from 6-9 p.m. at a Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) hearing at the Carlton County Transportation Building located at the Carlton junction.

Enbridge has proposed a route in Carlton County for the new oil line, crossing the townships of Automba, Kalevala, Skelton and Mahtowa and after crossing Interstate 35 north of the Mahtowa exit hill, heading northeast to the Chub Lake area to join into the existing oil pipeline corridor. Forty-seven miles of right-of-way corridor is needed in Carlton County alone. This is Enbridge's proposed route — the MPUC has the final decision.

This is why the MPUC is carefully studying routes to find a permanent corridor for these multiple lines. There are some residents who have asked to consider the Soo Line rail bed for the route. Use of the old rail bed will save on damage to local roads and use an existing route already impacted by rail construction and use. After completion, the trail users, it is felt, will keep a close eye on possible leaks and problems over and above safeguards the oil pipeline company has said it will use.

The Sandpiper will be a new pipeline to carry oil from the Bakken Oil Fields of northwest North Dakota to the Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The proposed line is 30 inches in diameter with an initial capacity of 375,000 barrels of oil per day at a pressure of 1,480 psi.

"Typical household water pressure from the tap is 40-60 pounds per square inch," explained a newsletter from the Carlton County Land Stewards, a local group concerned about the impacts on the environment and the local way of life.

Design capacity for the proposed line makes it possible to increase the pumping up to 711,000 barrels a day. The permanent right-of-way for this pipeline is 50 feet with a working area during construction of 120 feet or less in wetland areas.

Presentations at the hearing should be 3-5 minutes prepared with a copy given to the MPUC officials there. If you cannot attend, send your comments on the Routing Permit #13-474 or the Certificate of Need # 13-473 to:

Dr. Burl Haar, Executive Secretary, MN Public Utilities Commission, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 557101-2147.

Include the routing numbers on your testimony.


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