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.


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 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. 


Enbridge Gets Approval for Line 3 Despite Activist Concerns

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved Enbridge's proposed rebuild of their outdated Alberta-to-Wisconsin oil pipeline.

The route approved closely matches Enbridge’s preference and will take Line 3 over a new corridor along its route for a only a part of the construction. It will follow existing pipeline paths before steering south of a lake in order to ensure construction isn't delayed for up to a year.

The approval has conditions, including that Enbridge make a financial guarantee to cover any cleanup caused by environmental damage and remove any pipelines that are no longer in use if landowners request it.

Environmental activists were upset and spoke up during the commission's meeting.

The original Line 3, which has been operating at half capacity, will return to an approved capacity of 760,000 barrels per day after being replaced.

Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton said that that an additional 29 permits from local, state, and federal levels will still be required.

“Approvals are by no means assured,”


Minnesota to Begin Public Hearings for Enbridge Line 3 Oil Pipeline Expansion

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission starting Tuesday will hear from public groups like landowners, aboriginals, and environmentalists about Enbridge Inc.'s proposed $6.5 billion Line 3 crude oil pipeline upgrade.

Minnesota is the last jurisdiction to review the proposed pipeline that is designed to triple the current capacity of Enbridge's Line 3 that was built in the 1960s. The proposed upgrade would run from Hardesty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin and have a capacity of 760,000 barrels per day.

Earlier this month Minnesota's Department of Commerce said it opposed the pipeline upgrade, saying refineries in the state and the upper Midwest do not need the supply and also have little room to increase total crude runs.

Producers in Alberta argue they need the pipeline for additional export capacity that will help them to attain higher prices as their crude is landlocked and traded at a discount to the U.S.

Groups like environmentalists and aboriginals are opposed to the line for fear that it could leak and contribute to climate change.

Enbridge has already started construction on Line 3 in Canada and in Wisconsin.


Environmentalists Demand Further Review of Pipeline Replacement Project

Environmental groups in Minnesota are asking that state and federal regulators re-evaluate Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project due to alleged inconsistencies in Enbridge’s plans for the project.

According to a statement filed with the Public Utilities Commission, two environmental groups request that regulators more extensively look over Enbridge’s plans for the project and allow public comment on it as well.

Enbridge stated on its website on Line 3 that in order to maintain system integrity on the 50-year-old pipeline, 1,031 miles of the 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline must be replaced in a way that achieves this standard while also minimizes disruption to landowners and communities.

According to the project overview, the expected initial capacity of the replacement line will be 760,000 barrels per day and will cost an estimated $7.5 billion to complete.

Enbridge Inc.
Fox 21 News

Minnesotans Voice Concerns Regarding Sandpiper Pipeline Delay

Proposed route of the Sandpiper Pipeline from  Enbridge

Proposed route of the Sandpiper Pipeline from Enbridge

Minnesotans voice their frustration about the state’s lack of action regarding permits for the Sandpiper pipeline that would benefit Northern Minnesota communities, according to Star Tribune.

After four years of studying the proposed Sandpiper pipeline, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has yet to reach a conclusion about issuing a permit for the project, which would carry crude oil for 616 miles from North Dakota through Minnesota to Wisconsin.

Enbridge, the developers of the proposed line, have moved onto other investments as a result, purchasing a share of the Bakken Pipeline that received its permits in just a year and a half.

Although Enbridge has not yet announced it will nix the Sandpiper project, the uncertainty of receiving permits and its investment in the Bakken Pipeline has significantly delayed the project and has given little doubt that the line may no longer be immediately necessary.

Minnesotans have noticed the lack of streamlined decisions on environmental permits from the state and want to remind their state government of the “importance of natural-resource-based industries and the thousands of good-middle class jobs, both blue- and white-collar, that are supported by development."

Star Tribune