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Enbridge calls regulatory action on Sandpiper "unlawful and unreasonable"

ST. PAUL -- Enbridge Energy on Monday called an order by regulators in the Sandpiper pipeline permitting process "unlawful and unreasonable" and requested it be altered.

ST. PAUL -- Enbridge Energy on Monday called an order by regulators in the Sandpiper pipeline permitting process "unlawful and unreasonable" and requested it be altered.

The company's complaint centers on when an Environmental Impact Statement, or environmental study of the proposed crude oil pipeline's environmental impact, is required to be performed. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered Jan. 11 that the study be performed before testimony is heard in contested case proceedings over the pipeline.

However, in a "petition for reconsideration" filed Monday, Enbridge Energy said waiting for the EIS to be completed before starting the proceedings would be a delay that goes against the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act.

The company said the PUC should require a draft EIS prior to the start of the contested case hearing rather than a final EIS, and save the final EIS for "prior to the close of the contested case record."

"When added to the over two years already spent reviewing the proposal, this unprecedented delay not only harms (Enbridge Energy) but continues to have significant adverse economic, human, and environmental consequences," the petition said.

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The commission will take up the petition in the next six to eight weeks, executive secretary Dan Wolf said Wednesday.

"Whether or not the commission reconsiders its previous order and, if so, what modifications it might make would be decided at that time," Wolf said.

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