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Sandpiper public hearings expected in January

Enbridge Inc. officials released a statement noting that on Wednesday, July 9, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) conducted a pre-hearing status and scheduling conference to revise the Sandpiper oil pipeline project schedule.

Public hearings are expected to take place in January 2015 with an expected MPUC decision to follow in the spring of 2015.

Enbridge's proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline route would cut through Cass County and cross between Backus and Pine River, following the right-of-way of a local power line, on its 616-mile stretch from Beaver Lodge Station in North Dakota to a refinery in Superior, Wisconsin.

Lorraine Little, senior manager, U.S. Public Affairs, said in the statement this was an important step in maintaining an efficient Sandpiper pipeline project permitting process.

"For the past 18 months, we have been working diligently with regulatory and environmental agencies, communities and landowners," she wrote. "Feedback from county officials, landowners and others along the route have already been incorporated into our project plans, culminating in more than a dozen adjustments to our preferred route having been submitted to the MPUC for adoption."

Enbridge officials said they looked forward to continuing to work with regulatory and permitting authorities and the public.

More information will be made available on the Sandpiper project website as dates and locations of the public hearings and opportunities for comment are completed.