The approval process for Enbridge Energy's plan to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across the Minnesota state was back in motion by Minnesota utility regulators.
In March 2018, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission originally approved the environmental impact statement for the deteriorating Line 3 replacement project. But in June, acting on a petition from pipeline opponents, the Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that the statement was “inadequate” because it failed to address the potential effects of an oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed.
The regulators voted unanimously to direct the state Commerce Department to conduct a further environmental review on the potential effects of spills in the Lake Superior watershed, which is required by an appeals court order, and report back within 60 days.
Once the revised environmental review is completed, there will be a public comment period before the commission decides whether the update is adequate and whether to reissue key approvals for the project.
The decision represents forward motion after a long delay while legal challenges by environmental and tribal groups played out in court.