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Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline review will start again in Minnesota

Christian Fernsby ▼ | October 1, 2019
Minnesota regulators said the approval process for Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacing across northern Minnesota will start again.
Enbridge Line 3 pipeline
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Minnesota regulators were directing a state agency to fix the deficiencies identified by a court in the project’s environmental review.

Topics: Enbridge Line 3 pipeline Minnesota

The Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously during a hearing that lasted just 12 minutes to ask the state Commerce Department to conduct a further analysis of the potential effects of oil spills in the Lake Superior watershed and report back within 60 days.

The decision represented the first forward motion on the project in months while legal challenges by environmental and tribal groups played out in court. The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld most of the environmental review in June except for the inadequacies regarding Lake Superior. The Minnesota Supreme Court declined last month to hear challenges by the opponents to the environmental review on other grounds. But further appeals from opponents are possible.

Line 3, which was built in the 1960s and is increasingly subject to corrosion and cracking, runs from Alberta to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, near Lake Superior. Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge wants to replace the pipeline because it can run at only about half its original capacity.

Environmental and tribal groups have been fighting the project, saying it would aggravate climate change and risk spills in pristine waters where Native Americans harvest wild rice.