Enbridge can move its Line 3 project forward again as the result of a Tuesday Minnesota Supreme Court decision.
The Court declined to review petitions that sought additional review of the plan, in which Enbridge proposed to replace the aging Line 3 petroleum pipeline with a new one. Enbridge, which has called Line 3 “the most studied pipeline project in the history of Minnesota,” will invest $2.9 billion in the United States portion of the project.
Lauding the Court’s decision was the American Petroleum Institute, which said Line 3 has “undergone four years and thousands of hours of environmental review.” The Environmental Impact Statement exceeds 3,000 pages. Despite extensive planning, the proposal has been controversial.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted to issue a certificate of need for the work in June 2018 and in November 2018 ruled that its decision did not need to be reviewed. But another state agency, the Department of Commerce, appealed that decision – with the blessing of Gov. Tim Walz. Then in June of 2019, the Minnesota Court of Appeals said the Environmental Impact Statement didn't adequately address the potential impact of a spill in the Lake Superior watershed.
As a result, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said they would not take final action on permit applications until the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) re-addresses the EIS matter.
“Jobs for Minnesotans now urges the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to move forward with and outline an expeditious timeline for the additional review of the Project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement as ordered by the Minnesota Court of Appeals without delay,” the pro-jobs group said in a Tuesday news release. ““The Line 3 Replacement Project has real impacts to real people across the state, and Minnesota communities are waiting with urgency for this project to be permitted.”
The Line 3 Replacement Project entails replacing existing 34-inch pipe with new 36-inch pipe for 13 miles in North Dakota, 337 miles in Minnesota, and 14 miles in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin portion was completed in 2018.