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Let’s start with an explanation a second-grader could understand on Line 3 happenings last week: Healing Minnesota Stories blog, The pipeline company that cried “Wolf!’. Their simple explanation tells how Enbridge has continued to plea that they NEED a NEW pipeline… all while ALREADY SHIPPING more crude than they hope to add with said new pipeline! In fact, Enbridge currently has an EXCESS of unused capacity equal to MORE than the NEW Line 3 would be able to ship for them! Yet the powers that be still fail to listen. [And Enbridge has plans to expand MORE… FFS.]

Data showing Enbridge lied all along about their needed capacity, saying in the evidentiary hearing they needed more than 2.4M bpd… while knowing – for at least a YEAR – that they could already ship MORE than that. [HTE Filing 10-27-20]

Surprise, Surprise! We DON’T have to build a new Line 3 AFTER ALL!

Honor the Earth‘s Paul Blackburn and Frank Bibeau have filed a Complaint and Petition for Investigation regarding Enbridge’s mainline system capacities. It seems Enbridge has been less than forthcoming with their true mainline system capacities!

The filing opens quickly to the heart of the concern:

In the first quarter of 2020, before the pandemic impacted oil demand, U.S. federal and Canadian crude oil shipment data shows that in the first quarter of 2020 Enbridge successfully operated its Mainline System at a flow rate of over 2.8 million barrels per day (“bpd”) on a sustained basis. This flow is approximately 400,000 bpd more crude oil than the maximum effective Mainline System capacity claimed by Enbridge during the L3RP evidentiary hearings of 2.4 million bpd. It is also more oil than the net increase in capacity that would be provided by the Line 3 Replacement Project (“L3RP”) of 370,000 bpd, should it be constructed.

Petition and Complaint HTE 10-27-20

The petition goes on… “The evidence presented herein shows that:

  • Enbridge started its effort to add capacity to the Mainline System in 2016, before the L3RP evidentiary hearing;
  • Enbridge was able to transport 2.6 million bpd in November 2017, at the time of the evidentiary hearing, approximately 200,000 bpd more oil than its experts claimed was possible;
  • Enbridge continued its capacity addition efforts during the remainder of the L3RP hearing process; and
  • Enbridge is continuing to this day to add capacity through upgrades and efficiency improvements.”

And notes also:

With regard to its ongoing capacity addition efforts, Enbridge seeks to further increase Mainline System capacity through its imminent capacity additions to Lines 4 and 67. In August 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a public notice of an air pollution permit application stating that Enbridge intends to increase the flow of crude oil through Lines 4 and 67 by a total of 178,400 bpd through efficiency-based measures. Once these capacity additions come online, the Mainline System would be able to transport approximately 600,000 bpd, a 25 percent capacity increase relative to the 2.4 million bpd cap claimed by Enbridge in the L3RP evidentiary hearing.
Yet to Honor the Earth’s knowledge, Enbridge has not reported these completed and planned capacity increases to the Commission. Given that all of the quantitative need and apportionment data submitted by Enbridge in the L3RP docket (Docket No. PL9/CN-14-916) capped future Mainline System capacity at 2.4 million bpd through 2035, the fact that Enbridge now has the undeniable ability to ship more than 2.8 million bpd, and will shortly be able to ship approximately 3 million bpd, casts significant doubt on the efficacy of Enbridge’s forecasts. Since the Commission in Docket PL9/CN-14-916 did not consider the need for pipeline capacity beyond the 370,000 bpd of net capacity that would be provided by the L3RP, Enbridge through its efficiency-based capacity additions has apparently already met the commercial need for which the Commission approved the L3RP, and it will soon create additional capacity that will significantly exceed this need. The remarkable amount of additional capacity created by 3 Enbridge through efficiency improvements, optimization, and upgrades to existing pipelines has dramatically impacted the need for construction of a new pipeline.”

HTE Petition and Complaint 10-27-20
As Porky Pig says… “Bidipity dibity dibity… that’s ALL, Folks!”

And just like that, we realize there is no longer a need for Line 3. Especially not when the still have another ~350K bpd in expansions they’re holding close to the vest… as this Attachment G figure from the Complaint and Petition for Investigation shows:

Attachment G showing the Line 4 & 67 increases (178K bpd) as well as the Line 13 turn-around (150K bpd) Enbridge has been (quietly) discussing for some time now.

…the petition filed by Honor the Earth claims that capacity additions made by Enbridge between 2016 and 2019, including to lines 2, 4 and 65, have allowed the company to import an additional 400,000 barrels through Minnesota per day.

Honor the Earth also points to expansions to Lines 4 and 67 that would increase capacity by 178,400 barrels of crude oil per day.

Coupled with a decreased demand for Canadian crude oil due to COVID-19, the petition claims that the existing expansions outweigh the need for the Line 3 project, which it says would bring in 370,000 barrels per day.

“Together, these efficiency-based expansions create far more capacity than would be provided by the proposed Line 3 Pipeline’s net capacity increase of 370,000 bpd,” said Paul Blackburn, staff attorney for Honor the Earth, in a statement. “As a result, Enbridge has already met the need that formed the basis for the PUC’s approval of the Line 3 Replacement Project.”

Bring Me the News 10/28/20

Bottom line, Minnesota need not let Enbridge tear through Northern Minnesota Indian Country to put in a pipeline… especially not during a pandemic that is exploding up here in recent weeks.

Weekly Case Rate by County of Residence 10-29-20

If they move forward – ignoring the petition… it would seem that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission could – without TRUE consideration of DEMAND – force Minnesotans to pay for the installation of this new pipeline! [We all do pay for it as the oil companies are guaranteed a profit, meaning gas prices will be going up to justify the cost of the build… if it happens. It always amazes me how Enbridge can convince people that putting in a new pipeline will help them keep gas flowing… but never explains that, in order to make tar sands gas affordable, we’ll all be paying MUCH higher prices at the pump.]

No coverage from MPR yet but Lakeland Public TV did a nice job.

At the time of the evidentiary hearing in November 2017, Enbridge was already shipping
an average of 2,602,265 bpd in the quarter, approximately 185,000 bpd more crude oil
than the claimed “effective” capacity cap.
[Who knew? Not the public… until FERC reported it months later.]

This chart makes it pretty easy to see that Enbridge was lying. And… Enbridge isn’t denying the charges!

Calgary-based Enbridge said it has been adding capacity to its “mainline” across Minnesota through various improvements.

“There have been several initiatives that Enbridge has implemented in recent years to optimize its pipeline network to better meet customer demands,” the company said in a statement. “We’ve talked about these optimizations and efficiency-led capacity increases in a variety of public forums.”

AP reports Enbridge does not deny these increases to capacity. 10/30/20

While Enbridge’s website says nothing of this latest monkey wrench, they have posted about the great benefits they just delivered to North Dakota: “About 400 construction workers recently packed up their tools and departed the northeastern corner of North Dakota. What did they leave behind? A state-of-the-art energy pipeline—and plenty of community prosperity.” What?!? No mention of the COVID spike now killing North Dakotans? Wonder if the grieving will still find Enbridge’s work “worth it” when they realize the expenses of caring for their sick and burying their dead. Will those few weeks of Enbridge workers buying things in your store or spending money on your rental cover the cost of a casket?

High Risk States as of 11/2/20 AM

Since August, when Enbridge work started in North Dakota, we’ve seen COVID escalate rapidly in the state:

Daily Covid Cases in North Dakota: 133 on 8/1 to 1,433 on 10/31.
A 10-fold increase for a scary Halloween night.

And this weekend Bismark Tribune reported: “Seven counties — Cavalier, Griggs, Pembina, Ramsey, Rolette, Ward and Wells — posted record single-day new cases.” Pembina houses the Line 3 project and Cavalier is just next door. Thus far, Pembina has not reported any Covid dead.

Bismark Tribune

What we know: Enbridge lied.

What we don’t yet know: How many will die because of their lies?