Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Approval Challenges Rejected by Minnesota Court

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, that Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the state regulator that approved the Line 3 project last year, will not have to consider additional environmental issues. The ruling removed one potential obstacle for the already-delayed project.

The court declined to hear environmental and tribal challenges to Enbridge’s Line 3 which is part of Enbridge’s Mainline network that transports western Canadian oil to Midwest refineries. Line 3 replacement project was meant to be in service by the end of this year, but due to permitting issues, the project has been delayed until the second half of 2020.

“We agree with this decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court which now allows the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to move forth with the permitting process for the Line 3 replacement,” said Guy Jarvis, Enbridge’s executive vice president of liquids pipelines. “We look forward to the MPUC providing their guidance on the remaining process and schedule.”

The replacement project would double the capacity to 760,000 barrels per day providing much-needed relief from congestion on existing Canadian pipelines. In June, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the Public Utilities Commission had failed to address how an oil spill from the line would affect Lake Superior within the project’s environmental impact statement.


$2.6 Billion Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project Faces Another Obstacle

The two state agencies in Minnesota, The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources said on Tuesday that they can't take final action on the permits for Enbridge Energy's Line 3 replacement project, until problems with its environmental review are resolved.

The agencies said they will continue reviewing the applications, but won’t release the draft permits as scheduled on July 1st. The current Line 3, which was built in the 1960s is increasingly subject to corrosion and cracking, and runs at only about half of its original capacity for safety reasons.

The replacement pipeline would carry Canadian crude from Alberta across northern Minnesota to Enbridge's terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, which sits near the westernmost tip of Lake Superior. Earlier this month, Minnesota State Court of Appeals ruled that the project's environmental impact statement failed to address the possibility of a spill into the Lake Superior watershed.

"We believe the actions required to address the spill modeling in the Lake Superior watershed can be completed efficiently," Enbridge said.

According to the environmental and tribal groups, the project poses a risk of oil spills in pristine areas of the Mississippi River headwaters region where Native Americans gather wild rice, and that the Canadian tar sands oil that the line would carry accelerates climate change.


Court Rules Against Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project

Minnesota State Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the environmental assessment done on Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project was inadequate. The ruling is just the opposite of Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s decision, which approved the environmental impact statement for the pipeline replacement.

The proposed replacement pipeline will have the capacity to move 370,000 barrels of oil per day. The company plans to replace its existing 282 miles of 34 inch pipeline with 337 miles of 36 inch pipe. The project has faced numerous legal challenges and has been approved and disapproved several times over.

The startup date for the pipeline replacement project was originally supposed to be at the end of 2019.  As per the court, the Commission made a mistake when it approved the plan, and found that Enbridge’s environmental impact statement lacked in details about where it deals with oil spills in relation to Lake Superior.


Minnesota PUC Confirms Enbridge Energy's Line 3 Pipeline Approval

Enbridge Energy's proposed $7 billion Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement gets final approval from Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the company said on Wednesday. The PUC unanimously rejected the last pending petitions for reconsideration, including one from the state Commerce Department.

“The PUC confirmed its decision to approve the conditions placed on L3R’s (Line 3 Replacement) Certificate of Need – conditions meant to protect Minnesotans – allowing this critical energy infrastructure modernization project to move forward,” Enbridge said in a statement.

Since 1960s, Line 3 has carried Canadian crude from Alberta to Wisconsin and is currently operating at half its capacity. The Line 3 replacement would allow it to return to approved capacity of 760,000 barrels per day.

The PUC initially approved Enbridge’s plan to rebuild the aging 1,031-mile pipeline in June, but that decision was challenged by Minnesota’s governor in February.

The new line would cross Alberta, a corner of North Dakota and northern Minnesota to an Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Besides clearing the legal challenges, Calgary-based Enbridge also needs state and federal permits, which the company hopes to secure around end of the year.


Enbridge's Line 3 Pipeline Opening Delayed in Minnesota

The startup plans of Line 3 replacement crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota by the Canadian-based Enbridge Energy is delayed by a year, the company said on Friday. The company now expects the new pipeline to go into service in the second half of 2020.

The project was approved last summer by the state’s Public Utilities Commission and the initial plan was to put the pipeline into service in the second half of 2019.

But the Minnesota Department of Commerce argued that Enbridge failed to provide legally adequate long-range demand forecasts to establish that is needed.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recently said his administration will keep pursuing an appeal of an independent regulatory commission's approval of Enbridge's plan.

According to Enbridge Energy, Line 3 is increasingly prone to cracking and corrosion, and wants to be replaced. But the Native American and environmental activists argue the project risks spills in pristine areas.


Enbridge's Line 3 Approval Gets Reconfirmation

Minnesota regulators have reconfirmed their support for Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement that crosses northern Minnesota.

The company is looking to replace its aging crude oil pipeline, but is faced with fierce opposition.

The Public Utilities Commission on Monday rejected a motion by opponents to reconsider its previous decision to grant a certificate of need for the project.

The commissioners agreed that Enbridge met several additional conditions imposed in June, including requirements for insurance coverage against spills and financial assurance for covering costs of removing pipeline after the end of its life.

Environmental and tribal groups upsettingly walked out of the hearing and marched to the office of Gov. Elect Tim Walz after the decision was made.

CBS Minnesota - WCCO


Enbridge Line 3 Trespassers Convicted by Jury, Face Jail Time

Two individuals have been convicted by a jury for disorderly conduct and obstruction of an officer after a protest at Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 construction site in Wisconsin late last summer.

The 24-year-old male and 26-year-old female were found guilty of trespassing on the site where Enbridge was working to replace a 12.5-mile segment of their pipeline, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

According to investigations, the 24-year-old secured himself to an excavator at the site as the other person involved streamed the event on social media on August 29, 2017. Both refused requests from sheriffs to leave the site.

The individual who streamed the trespassing was sentenced to 20 days in jail and ordered to pay fines. The judge emphasized that “this type of behavior will not be tolerated” and commented on how these actions endanger all those involved.

The 24-year-old who secured himself to an excavator has still not been sentenced.

Rapid City Journal

Enbridge Announces $3.3 Billion Sale of NatGas Gathering Pipelines, Facilities

Enbridge announced Wednesday that it would sell its Canadian natural gas gathering pipelines and processing facilities to Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, a Toronto-based company, for US$3.3 billion.

The deal will help Enbridge focus on long-haul pipelines while deleveraging other projects. Enbridge plans to ultimately reduce the company’s $46 billion debt in the process.

Included in the sale are 2,205 miles of gathering pipelines and 19 natural gas processing plants.

Enbridge CEO and President Al Monaco said that the deal “demonstrates our focus on prudent capital allocation and ensuring the continued strength of our balance sheet and funding flexibility.”

Enbridge’s balance sheet became a key focus after its mega $28 billion merger with Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp in 2016 and has been selling off assets and dividing proceeds to both pay down debt as well as funding its growth portfolio.

The company plans on spending another roughly $17 billion on other projects, including the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement.

Financial Post

Enbridge Not Hiring Private Security Ahead of Line 3 Pipeline Construction

Enbridge has decided to not hire private security during the construction phase of Line 3, a senior Enbridge official said on Friday.

The decision comes as a result of violence that erupted last year between protestors and security during construction of Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline, something Enbridge seeks to avoid.

Protestors have vowed to stop the project even if that means they will need to put their body on the line, according to them. The tension compares to the late 2016-early 2017 DAPL protests in North Dakota that started peacefully but became increasingly violent between both parties.

“We’re here to make sure that nobody gets hurt,” Enbridge's Executive Vice President said. “If you employ your own security to do (law enforcement), you’re broadening your responsibilities to an area where we don’t believe we should go.”

Executive director of the Honor the Earth activist group said that she is “pretty skeptical” that Enbridge will leave security to police. 


Poll Confirms Minnesotans Support Increase Use of Pipelines to Avoid Increasing Oil-By-Rail

A Public Opinion Research study by the Ag Energy Alliance shows that Minnesotans support the increased use of pipelines to avoid increasing the number of oil trains that travel across Minnesota.

The study, released last week, also confirms that the majority of Minnesotans support infrastructure upgrades like Enbridge's Line 3 replacement project in order to prevent safety and efficiency problems that are caused by an increased use of oil-by-rail.

The Minnesota Grain and Feed Association added that oil needs to move by pipeline in order to avoid clogging up the rail systems and burdening transportation of their products.

Lance Klatt, a member of the Ag Energy Alliance, said Enbridge's Line 3 replacement project should occur along the proposed route to avoid the interruption of service from an in-trench replacement which would come at a significant cost to farmers and other customers of the Alliance.

In late April an administrative law judge ruled that the Line 3 replacement project should be approved by the state's Public Utilities Commission but not for the proceed but only if Enbridge built the line along the existing route and not the proposed and company-preferred route.


Environmental Groups Target Big Insurers of Tar Sands Pipeline Projects

In a new public relations campaign, environmentalists are calling on big insurance companies to stop providing coverage for projects connected to Western Canada's tar sands fields where oil deposits are some of the most carbon intensive in the world.

In the paper released Thursday headed by environmental activist group Unfriend Coal, the group specifically targets Canada's tar sands, saying that more than 70 percent of global tar sands reserves are located in Canada.

Earlier this month, several supporters of the Unfriend Coal campaign wrote to the CEOs of 25 leading energy insurers asking them to stay away from pipeline projects related to coal or tar sands like the Trans Mountain Expansion, Keystone XL, and Line 3.

Without insurance, pipeline projects that move tar sands from Canada to other markets would not get funded and could not be operated, the group writes in the paper.

Leaders and supporters of the campaign are starting to see signs of success as both European insurance giants AXA and Allianz have announced they will begin divesting from the coal industry.

Unfriend Coal
Fuel Fix

Minnesota Governor Vetoes Bill that Would Expedite Construction on Enbridge Line 3 Oil Pipeline

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed legislation that would have expedited the start of construction on Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline through the state.

The legislation would have interrupted a three-year regulatory process headed by the state Public Utilities Commission that is nearly complete. The commission is slated to make a decision on the project in June.

Dayton said the legislation pre-empts the PUC process that has been established in law. He also said the bill disregards the input of thousands of state residents who have spent time participating in the long regulatory process.

The bill was introduced by Republican legislators who aimed to jumpstart construction on the project that they argue will provide an economic boost for the state.

Enbridge is proposing this $2.6 billion pipeline project in order to replace its aging Line 3 oil pipeline that is corroding and causing potential safety concerns. The pipeline would transport Canadian oil to the company's terminal in Wisconsin.

Star Tribune

Minnesota Senate Passes Bill to Jumpstart Enbridge Line 3 Construction

The Minnesota Senate has voted to pass a bill that would jumpstart construction of Enbridge's proposed Line 3 replacement project across the northern part of the state.

The House passed the legislation on Monday that says Enbridge can start work on replacing the aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline, but the Senate on Wednesday made a slight amendment to it that the House must agree with before sending it to Governor Mark Dayton who has promised to veto the bill.

The bill would bypass the state's Public Utilities Commission, which is scheduled to make a decision on the pipeline proposal in June.

Enbridge says the old 1,000-mile Line 3 oil pipeline is corroding and is very costly to maintain, requiring the need for a replacement pipeline in order to boost safety and pipeline capacity.

Many against the project have threatened a repeat of the protests that occurred in North Dakota near the Standing Rock reservation that delayed construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline for several months.

Opponents of the proposed replacement project fear the impact on climate change and waterways.


Enbridge Sells U.S. Gas Pipelines, Renewables for $2.5 Billion to Help Reduce Debt

Enbridge Inc. said Wednesday it will sell a U.S. gas pipelines business and some of its renewable portfolio for a combined $2.5 billion as part of its efforts to reduce debt.

Enbridge has been pressured to sell non-core assets since its $28 billion takeover of Spectra Energy last year. The company has a long-term debt pile of more than $60 billion, which is alarming credit rating agencies.

Enbridge said it will sell its U.S. gas pipelines unit to Midcoast Operating LP for $1.12 billion and sell a 49 percent stake in its wind and solar power assets in North America and Germany to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for C$1.75 billion (U.S.$1.37 billion).

Enbridge on Wednesday also filed a formal response to Minnesota judge's recommendation that its Line 3 replacement pipeline be built in the existing right-of-way through the state rather than by way of Enbridge's preferred route.

The pipeline company said building the pipeline through the existing right-of-way would mean the current Line 3 pipeline would have to be shut down for nine to 12 months, which would negatively impact Minnesota's energy supply.


Judge Tells Minnesota Regulators to Approve Line 3, but Not Enbridge's Preferred Route

An administrative law judge on Monday told Minnesota regulators that they should approve Enbridge's proposed Line 3 oil pipeline but not the route that Enbridge has proposed for the replacement project.

Instead, administrative law judge Ann O'Reilly said in her recommendation that the pipeline project should only be approved if Enbridge replaces the existing line in its current location, citing integrity concerns with the current 50-year-old Line 3 pipeline.

O'Reilly said building the new Line 3 along a new route has more consequences than benefits for the state of Minnesota.

O'Reilly's recommendation comes after hearing days of testimony from the public and reading written comments submitted about the project. More than 72,000 written comments were submitted about the project, and 68,244 of them opposed it, according to O'Reilly.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had been waiting for an official recommendation from O'Reilly before making a final decision on the pipeline project. The commission is expected to make a final decision in June.

Enbridge says the old 1,000-mile Line 3 oil pipeline is corroding and is very costly to maintain, requiring the need for a replacement pipeline in order to boost safety and pipeline capacity.

Many against the project have threatened a repeat of the protests that occurred in North Dakota near the Standing Rock reservation that delayed construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline for several months.

MPR News

Minnesota Governor Vows to Veto Bill Aimed to Kick-Start Enbridge Pipeline Construction

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said last week that he would veto a bill aimed to kick start construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline through the northern part of the state.

The proposed 1,031-mile replacement project has gone through a years-long approval process and is close to the end as the state’s Public Utilities Commission approved the final environmental review of the replacement project last month.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the pipeline route and construction in June, but House Republicans argue construction has taken long enough and should begin immediately.

A House committee passed a bill last week that would authorize immediate construction for the project, but Governor Dayton said he would veto the bill if it came up for a final vote because the bill is politically motivated and would trample the state’s regulatory process.

Enbridge's new Line 3 oil pipeline would take the place of the old Line 3 that dates back to 1960 and can no longer run at full capacity due to safety issues and lack of latest technologies. The new Line 3 would follow the existing Line 3 route from North Dakota to Minnesota and then create a new path to Wisconsin.


Minnesota Department of Commerce Releases Amended Environmental Review of Enbridge Line 3 Oil Pipeline

Proposed Route for Enbridge Line 3 Oil Pipeline Replacement   (Enbridge)

Proposed Route for Enbridge Line 3 Oil Pipeline Replacement (Enbridge)

The Minnesota Department of Commerce on Monday released its amended environmental impact statement for Enbridge's proposed Line 3 oil pipeline after the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission asked the commerce department to make clarifications to its original review in December.

The original environmental review released by the commerce department late last year was fundamentally flawed, according to the PUC, who said it lacked an assessment of large spills and needed more information covering alternative routes to Enbridge's preferred Line 3 route.

The PUC is scheduled to vote on the new environmental impact statement's adequacy sometime this month and to vote on whether the pipeline is needed in June.

Enbridge's new Line 3 oil pipeline would take the place of the old Line 3 that dates back to 1960 and can no longer run at full capacity due to safety issues and lack of latest technologies. The new 1,031-mile Line 3 would follow the existing Line 3 route from North Dakota to Minnesota and then create a new path to Wisconsin.

Pipeline Technology Journal

Minnesota Regulators Reject Environmental Review of Enbridge Line 3, Ask for Revisions

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has rejected the Environmental Impact Statement for Enbridge's proposed Line 3 oil pipeline, saying it is inadequate and needs revision.

The commission has directed the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which conducted the environmental review, to revise three parts of the statement within 60 days. The commission also requested that the Commerce Department give more information on how an alternative route could be altered to avoid geologic formations.

Opponents of the pipeline project, such as American Indian tribes and environmental groups, criticized the review made by the state Department of Commerce, saying it does not address the impact of a potential oil spill into waterways or wilderness.

Enbridge's Line 3 is the pipeline operator's largest project to date, spanning 1,031 miles. It would replace an aging existing pipeline with advanced materials, the latest technology, and would undergo construction with the most superior methods, according to Enbridge.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission won't make a decision on the 340-mile segment that runs through the state until at least April next year.

Houston Chronicle

Minnesota PUC Says Enbridge Must Publicly Report Line 3 Oil Spill Projections

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted Thursday that Enbridge Energy must publicly disclose its projections for potential oil spills from its proposed Line 3 pipeline replacement project.

Enbridge submitted its modeling dataset, which includes the probability of large spills at seven water crossings in northern Minnesota, to the Minnesota Department of Commerce but had much of the data redacted from the public version of the dataset for safety and security reasons.

The state's PUC voted to release the spill information to the public anyway, arguing that the data should be public and that the information is not likely to cause a security threat.

Enbridge Energy is seeking permission in Minnesota to replace a part of its aging Line 3 pipeline that currently only runs at approximately half of its original capacity for safety reasons. The pipeline runs from Alberta through North Dakota and Minnesota to Wisconsin. Construction on the $7.5 billion project has already begun in Canada and Wisconsin.

Environmentalists and tribal groups are strongly against the pipeline and have cut short public hearings on the project. Minnesota's PUC recently canceled two hearings that had been scheduled in St. Cloud on Thursday due to logistical and safety issues.

Houston Chronicle

U.S. State Department Issues Permit to Enbridge for Alberta Clipper Cross-Border Oil Pipeline

After a near five-year review process, the U.S. State Department on Monday issued a permit for a section of Enbridge's Line 67 crude oil pipeline, or Alberta Clipper line, that will allow Enbridge to ship nearly double the amount of crude currently shipped from Alberta to Wisconsin.

All cross-border crude oil pipelines require presidential approval. The Alberta Clipper line currently operates under a presidential approval granted in 2009, but the 2017 approval now gives Enbridge the authority to fully use the line's capacity across the border.

Enbridge sought the permit for an expansion back in 2012 but experienced several obstacles and delays receiving the permit from the Obama administration.

"This is great news for Canadian producers because it will effectively allow us to move more volumes on the system," said Nancy Berard-Brown, manager of oil markets and transportation at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.