PUC approves route for new oil pipeline

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Enbridge Energy says it could start building a new oil pipeline across northwestern Minnesota this summer, after the state Public Utilities Commission approved a route for the line today.

The 36 inch-diameter pipe, to be called the Alberta Clipper, would carry oil originating in either North Dakota or the oil sand district in Alberta, Canada to a refinery in Superior, Wis.

Oil sand mining
Commercial mining of oil sand north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The shovel's bucket holds approximately 100 tons of oil sand ore. A processing facility is in the background.
Photo courtesy of Suncor Energy

Plans were held up while Enbridge negotiated for permission to route the line through the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation.

Farther west, the Leech Lake Tribal Council has yet to sign an agreement.

Enbridge Energy spokeswoman Denise Hamsher says construction of the pipeline would create more than 2,000 jobs.

Several environmental groups have taken the project to court. They say taking oil from the tar sands in Canada is too environmentally destructive.

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