MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission meets Thursday to make some important decisions on how to proceed with Enbridge Energy’s proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota across Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.

The decisions will also affect Enbridge’s proposal to replace its aging Line 3 pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to Superior because Enbridge wants a new Line 3 to partially follow Sandpiper’s route.

The path forward became murky in September when the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that Sandpiper needs a full environmental review, and the PUC now faces a complicated web of issues it must sort out.

Sandpiper’s opponents include environmental and tribal groups that say the pipeline poses an unacceptable risk of oil spills in environmentally sensitive areas of northern Minnesota.

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