MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota kicks off public hearings this week on whether regulators should allow Enbridge Energy to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.
Environmental and tribal groups opposed to the project say they expect to turn out hundreds of people for a rally and march before Thursday's hearing in St. Paul.
They've been buoyed by a recent review from the state Commerce Department, which surprised opponents and Enbridge alike by concluding the project isn't needed and won't benefit Minnesota.
But Enbridge says Line 3 is a critical piece of infrastructure for petroleum shippers and refineries in the region.
Oil pipelines have become an increasingly contentious national issue amid concerns about tar sands oil and climate change, the danger to water supplies, and the rights of American Indians.