The Latest: Minnesota opens key hearing on Enbridge pipeline

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Latest on the opening of a hearing before Minnesota regulators on Enbridge Energy’s proposal for replacing its Line 3 crude oil pipeline across Minnesota (all times local):

3 p.m.

Passions ran high though people remained polite as Minnesota regulators opened a key hearing that’s meant to lead to a final decision on whether to approve Enbridge Energy’s proposal for replacing its deteriorating Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.

A crowd that was about evenly divided between supporters and opponents began lining up early Monday morning for the limited seating. People held signs outside reading, "Minnesotans for Line 3" or "No Pipelines – Keep it in the Ground" and "Love Water, Not Oil."

The crowd grew to over 200 by the time the Public Utilities Commission began hearing final arguments in the long-running proceedings. The five-member commission plans to decide next week whether the project is needed. If they choose in favor, they’ll decide if it should follow the company’s preferred route or another path.

8:15 a.m.

A crowd of people lining up for a key hearing on a Minnesota pipeline project appears about evenly divided between supporters and opponents.

Minnesota regulators have two days of hearings on Enbridge Energy’s proposal to replace its deteriorating Line 3. The pipeline carries crude oil from Canada across North Dakota and Minnesota to a terminal in Wisconsin.

Ahead of Monday’s meeting of the Public Utilities Commission in St. Paul, opponents held signs that read "No pipeline" while supporters carried signs that read "Minnesotans for Line 3."

Canada-based Enbridge says it needs to replace the 1960s-era Line 3 for safety reasons. The line is increasingly subject to corrosion and cracking and is operating at only about half its original capacity.

Tribal and climate change activists oppose it.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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