ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has unanimously approved plans by Enbridge Energy to boost the capacity of its oil pipeline in Minnesota.
Wednesday's vote came as environmental and Native American protesters chanted in opposition.
The protesters oppose transporting more crude oil from the tar sands region of Alberta to the United States.
But the Minnesota Commerce Department supported the upgrade, saying it would ensure "a continued, reliable cost-effective supply" of crude oil to Minnesota and the region.
If the pipeline isn't built, the department projected that shipping crude by railroad would require 7,000 tank cars traveling through Minnesota.
The Star Tribune reports the PUC voted that the project is needed, citing its favorable economics.
The Alberta Clipper pipeline runs 1,000 miles from Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wis.
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