An administrative law judge on Thursday recommended state regulators approve a plan by Enbridge Inc. to pipe more crude oil from Canada on its Alberta Clipper line.
The line, also known as Line 67, currently ships 570,000 barrels per day and would increase its capacity to 800,000 barrels per day by adding new pump stations. The pipeline enters Minnesota in the state's northwest corner, passing through Clearbrook, Cass Lake, Deer River, Floodwood and other towns on its way to Superior, Wisconsin.
The recommendations from Judge Eric Lipman, who concluded that Enbridge has demonstrated the need for the increased capacity, will now go before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
Environmentalists have opposed the pipeline upgrade, objecting to the energy-intensive extraction methods used in the oil sands of Alberta.
But Lipman said in his written order that "no party demonstrated that there was a safer, more affordable or more reliable alternative."
The proposal to increase capacity on the Alberta Clipper is one of several projects Enbridge is pursuing in Minnesota.