ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission has scheduled five hearings over five straight days next month to hear from people with strong opinions about a proposed oil pipeline.

The hearings on the Enbridge Energy Partner’s planned Sandpiper pipeline have been set for the first full week of January. They start on Jan. 5 at St. Paul’s RiverCentre before successive hearings in Duluth, Bemidji, Crookston and St. Cloud.

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About half of a proposed 612-mile pipeline would run through northern Minnesota, carrying oil from North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day would flow through the new line.

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Permitting complications in Minnesota have slowed the project. If approved, it likely wouldn’t be in service until 2017.

Environmentalists are pushing for a different route to avoid sensitive wetlands.

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