Enbridge Energy defends plan to replace Line 3 oil pipeline

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Enbridge Energy is disputing a state agency's recommendation against the company's proposal for replacing its aging Line 3 oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is considering whether to approve the project, which has aroused opposition from environmental and tribal groups.

The state Commerce Department surprised both sides last month when it concluded that the project isn't needed and that it won't benefit Minnesota enough to justify the risks.

Officials with Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge asserted in rebuttal filings Wednesday that the $7.5 billion project is necessary. They say it will protect the environment and ensure the safe transportation of crude oil to refineries in Minnesota and neighboring states.

The PUC is scheduled to decide in April whether it's needed and what route it should follow.