Regulators in Minnesota have given final approval to the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project, ensuring the pipeline will keep transporting Alberta oil to the United States.

On Monday, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency granted the US$2.6 billion project a permit. Enbridge announced construction will start immediately.

The project will replace the 52-year old pipeline going from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. The replacement will create around 4,200 jobs and guarantee Alberta oil will continue to supply the Great Lakes region.

The current aging pipeline only runs at half-capacity. Between both countries, the Line 3 replacement has an economic value of $8.2 billion.

“This is a historic day for the Line 3 project which will strengthen the safety of the system for years to come,” said Enbridge Executive Vice President Vern Yu.

“Safety remains our top priority, and we will be implementing an industry leading COVID management plan to protect our workforce and the communities in which we will be working.” 

While the Line 3 replacement is facing a challenge in court by a coalition of environmental and Minnesota First Nation groups, Enbridge says that construction will be going ahead as early as this week.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage celebrated the project’s approval as a massive benefit to the Albertan economy.

“The $8.2-billion project will provide reliable energy, jobs and economic benefits for Canada and the United States. Replacing this almost 60-year-old pipeline will restore it to its original capacity of 760,000 barrels per day, adding about 370,000 barrels per day to Alberta’s current takeaway capacity,” she said in a statement.

“The project’s approval is a win for Alberta – and for North American energy security. Canada and the U.S. have built the world’s strongest, most interdependent and trusted energy trading relationship. 

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