The Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) on Monday released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and opened a public comment period for the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project. Partnership executives said this marks an important step in the regulatory process.

Built in the 1960s, Line 3 is a 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline extending from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior. A new 36-inch diameter pipeline will replace the existing 34-inch diameter pipeline along most of the route. In the U.S., the replacement pipeline will follow Enbridge's existing Line 3 route from Joliette, N.D., to Clearbrook, Minn., and then will primarily follow existing pipeline and transmission routes from Clearbrook to Superior.

The DEIS includes 13  chapters, 17 appendices and 2 technical reports that took into consideration input collected at 27 meetings and more than 15 months to scope and develop, according to Shannon Gustafson, communications supervisor, U.S. Liquids Pipelines and Projects. 

“Enbridge looks forward to the next step for this important system modernization project and advancing the regulatory process,” said John Swanson, vice president of major projects.

The Department of Commerce will next host 22 public meetings along Enbridge’s preferred route and route alternatives beginning June 6. The public comment period began May 15 and will conclude on July 10.

In a news release, Enbridge said replacing Line 3 is an important infrastructure project for Minnesota several reasos: 

  • The time is now toreplace and modernize Line 3 with the newest, safest pipeline technology.
  • Pipelines and clean water have co-existed for more than 65 years. Replacing Line 3 will better protect natural resources.
  • Enbridge has spent more than four years and thousands of hours studying the environment for the proposed project.

“The release of the draft environmental impact statement for the Line 3 Replacement Program is an important milestone for safe energy transportation in our region," said Nancy Norr, Jobs for Minnesotans board chair and Minnesota Power director of regional development. "We have a common interest with the Department of Commerce and Enbridge in protecting the people, communities and waterways of Minnesota while efficiently delivering the energy our residents and businesses rely on every day. This thorough document is a positive step toward achieving that goal and engaging stakeholders in the regulatory process.” 

Support also was voiced by others in the business community.

“The Line 3 Replacement Program will support more than 1,500 Minnesota construction jobs. These are jobs that sustain families, putting food on the table and creating opportunities for the next generation of our workforce. We’re pleased to be one step closer to realizing these important economic returns,” said Harry Melander, Jobs for Minnesotans co-founder and president of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council.

“Enbridge has a safe track record and is a great example of a good corporate citizen. The company is prepared to invest $2.1 billion in Minnesota during the course of this project. These are dollars that will benefit our state’s economy and our people,” said Doug Loon, Jobs for Minnesotans board member and president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.