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What happened at US State Department meeting for Enbridge proposed expansion of Line 67

Bemidji Pioneer
100s of people go into Sanford Center

Tuesday March 7th, 2017 was the U.S State Department's only public meeting on the proposed Line 67 (formerly known as the Alberta Clipper) .  Enbridge needs to get Presidential approval to cross from Canada into the U.S.   According to Enbridge, there's an increased need for oil and with Line 67 they will be able to transport 890,000 gallons of oil a day instead of 500,000 safely.  This oil will move into Enbridge's new Line 3 along this route

The meeting was part of the regulatory process required of Enbridge and presented was a 700+ page Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Line 67 Expansion.  You can find the documents here.

It was difficult to judge how many people were in attendance - but at least 2 buses were there from Minneapolis and Duluth (approximately 100 people)  and probably at least an additional 100-150 were in attendance.  My guess would be anywhere from 250-350 people though other media reported about 100.   Conditions were tough -  50mph wind -1 windchill at Sanford Center on Lake Bemidji. 

I talked with some of the  people who had traveled by bus from Minneapolis and thought that they would be giving public testimony to a large group.  Others thought the meeting might just be informational and like the December meeting Enbridge held without a public forum.

After waiting in lines outside the building people went through metal detectors and then were brought into a large ball room where coffee and cookies were served.  State Department employees were stationed around the room with reports and large displays of information.  People could ask them questions and if they were there to give public testimony they had the choice of going to an electronic station that consisted of tall tables with laptops where they could enter in their testimony directly to the U.S. Department.  They could also fill out forms that were available on tables in the middle of the room or if they wanted to verbally give testimony there were stenographers available  to take down the information and submit.

According to reports from media sources like Lakeland Public Television and KARE-11 news, there were people in support of the pipeline there for testimony as well and prior to the meeting the organizationJobs for Minnesotanssupported the expansion of Enbridge's Line 67 .  Russell Hell, Laborers District Council of MN & ND said, "When it comes to oil transportation, there is no question that pipelines are the safest and most environmentally friendly way to move oil to market."  He went on to say, "we stand here today in support of safe energy transportation and we support Enbridge and their commitment to safety, the environment and doing the right thing."

Most of the people I interviewed were there for information or to show their opposition to the expansion of Line 67 by Enbridge Energy.  You can hear some of the sounds of the meeting here.

You can also hear our recap on the Morning Show today. 

Heidi Holtan talks with Maggie Montgomery and Dave Harrington about the State Department meeting she attended at Sanford Center in Bemidji concerning Enbridge Energy's Line 67 proposal.

The public can still submit their testimony until March 27th. To get involved in the public process to to the regulations websiteand enter in "Enbridge Line 67".

Check out other media coverage from the event:

Bemidji Pioneer

Lakeland Public Television

KARE-11 News

WDIO TV-Duluth

And don't forget to send us your comments.  Call our talkback line 218-999-9876 or by email

Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.