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Needed pipeline followed all proper rules, permits

On April 25, a commentary appeared in this paper concerning Enbridge's pipeline expansion in this area and through the Leech Lake Reservation.

Enbridge has operated the Lakehead Pipeline System along this route for 60 years. The vast majority of crude oil transported by pipeline into Minnesota is produced in western Canada. More than 1 million barrels per day of crude oil is already produced from Alberta's oil sands. In fact, there is nothing new about Alberta's crude oil. The gasoline in your car, the fuel that heats many homes and the asphalt that built our region's roads was most likely refined from crude oil originating in the oil sands, western Canada or North Dakota and Montana.

Enbridge's expansion allows Midwest refineries to receive more supplies from North Dakota and Montana and from our secure, reliable and environmentally progressive neighbor to the north. Our alternative is close these refineries or force them to obtain even more crude oil from less reliable or secure countries. We all want to be less dependent on fossil fuels. But while we're working on that challenge, we will need the motor fuels and other petroleum products that our Midwest refineries produce from Canadian crude oil.

The energy industry has long realized that a fossil fuel-based economy presents environmental challenges. But perspective is important. Alberta's oil sands account for only about 5 percent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and less than one-10th of 1 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions. Alberta has stringent environmental rules and was the first jurisdiction in North America to legislate GHG reductions for large industrial facilities.

After an extensive public comment period and several public hearings, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission determined there is a public need for Enbridge's expansion and agreed that the proposed route paralleling our existing mainline posed the least impact to the public and environment. The MPUC was not convinced when others posed similar protests to those raised in the recent commentary.

It is true that in some years we have not achieved our goal of zero accidents while operating the world's longest liquid petroleum pipeline system. It is also true that those who live and work along our pipeline route know us and can count on Enbridge to treat all our neighbors ethically, fairly and responsibly if there were ever to be another incident.

Denise Hamsher

Director Public, Federal and Regulatory Affairs

Superior, Wis.