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.