When the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department testified that there wasn’t a need to replace the Line 3 Pipeline, we knew they weren’t being totally honest. This week, Enbridge fired back, saying in their official statement “The suggestion that Line 3 can be shut down without any impact on Minnesota is simply not true. Apportionment and property tax reductions would have an immediate effect on Minnesota. Reduced pipeline capacity would increase rail shipments, with as many as 32 additional mile-long trains every day crossing Minnesota. Additional rail facilities would also be required for refineries to utilize rail shipments. The impact on Minnesota’s agricultural economy would be costly and disruptive as evidenced by the agricultural commerce curtailed in 2013-2014 due to increased crude by rail movements.”
The Dayton-DFL-Rothman Commerce Department insisted that “In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built.”
Later, in its testimony, Enbridge replied “Contrary to the DOC testimony, the Enbridge system, which includes Line 3, is currently full and in apportionment. This means demand for capacity exceeds what’s available, and refineries in Minnesota and the Midwest cannot obtain all the crude supply they request. When refiners can’t get the supply they need, they are either forced to produce less or source it through other more costly modes of transportation, like rail, which drives up costs and impacts their competitiveness. Line 3 will ensure an adequate supply for refiners and enable them to continue to provide the energy Minnesotans need.”
In other words, Enbridge’s statement all but officially accuses the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department of telling whoppers. This graphic speaks volumes:
“Denial of the Line 3 replacement program does not change the supply of crude oil in Canada or anywhere else … or demand for crude oil in the Minnesota or in the U.S.,” said Neil Earnest, president of energy market consultants Muse, Stancil & Co. “What it does do is shift it off pipelines and onto rail.'” The demand for Canadian crude oil is there, officials reasoned, and supply is only growing.
The indisputable truth is that demand for oil won’t decrease anytime soon. Whenever environmental activists predict something, it’s best to figure that it’s wildly inaccurate. The first time I heard an environmental activist predict something was about the Alaskan Pipeline in the mid-1970s. The president of the Sierra Club argued against its construction, saying that it would disrupt “the migration pattern of the Barrows Caribou. And for what? Maybe 4-5 years worth of oil?” That pipeline opened in the late 1970s. It’s still transporting oil 40 years later.
Enbridge is right to fight the Dayton administration’s environmental activists because their predictions are frequently wrong.