Enbridge advances proposals for pipelines across Minnesota

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Enbridge Energy plans to soon begin contacting property owners along two routes they are pursuing for a pipeline across Minnesota from North Dakota to Wisconsin, the Star Tribune reports.

The two proposed routes for a roughly 610-mile pipeline would take crude from south of Tioga, N.D., to Superior, Wis., across 11 northern Minnesota counties. (Here's more information about the project from the company.) The Star Tribune has a map that shows both routes.

Company officials now say they prefer one of the routes in particular for the $2.5 billion Sandpiper Pipeline, a route that goes through Clearbrook, Minn., around Park Rapids and then heads east, the Star Tribune reports.

Towns along the Sandpiper route would benefit from taxes associated with the pipeline and related facilities during the life of the pipeline, the Alberta-based company says.

The construction would employ as many as 3,000 workers in Minnesota and North Dakota, and could start as early as 2014, an Enbridge spokeswoman told the newspaper.

Critics have called the proposed project a "Minnesota disgrace" and say there is no need for it.

Over the objections of about 50 chanting, sign-carrying protesters, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in July unanimously approved the expansion of the pipeline.

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