Enbridge says Minnesota concludes no additional risk to lake from pipeline

FILE PHOTO: The Enbridge Tower is pictured on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber

(Reuters) - Canada’s Enbridge Inc said on Monday that a revised environmental statement from the state of Minnesota’s commerce department concludes that replacing the aging Line 3 oil pipeline would not introduce risks for Lake Superior in the case of a spill.

The revised statement was drafted at the request of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). A court had determined the previous environmental assessment was inadequate.

The commerce department’s spill modeling showed that oil from a spill would not reach the lake, Enbridge said.

The finding helps Enbridge’s chances of gaining final approval for the project from the Minnesota regulator and complete replacement of a pipeline built in the 1960s. The line moves crude from the Canadian province of Alberta to U.S. refineries, and replacing it would boost a Canadian oil industry that has struggled due to severe bottlenecks.

The project would double capacity to 760,000 barrels per day. Minnesota is the last link of Line 3 to be replaced, with the new Canadian portion opening this month.

“The PUC has produced yet another inadequate review that fails to recognize that this pipeline would pose an unacceptable risk to Minnesota’s clean water and should never be built,” said Margaret Levin, a director with the Sierra Club environmental activist group.

The commission said in a statement that it would conduct a public comment period until Jan. 16.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Leslie Adler and Marguerita Choy