$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.


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.


Federal Judge Orders Spill Response Plan for Dakota Access Pipeline

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Monday ordered Energy Transfer Partners to coordinate with local tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers to create an oil-spill response plan for the Dakota Access Pipeline by April, 2018 as a way to keep oil flowing and prevent spills.

Boasberg also asked the company to begin submitting bi-monthly reports later this month on safety conditions where the pipeline crosses Lake Oahe, a controversial crossing that was protested by thousands for months last year.

The order comes six months after Boasberg required the Army Corps of Engineers to do an additional review on the 1,170-mile Dakota Access Pipeline oil pipeline, which started shipping crude in June. He had ruled that the initial review of the project was inadequate before the Army Corps granted federal permits.

In October, Boasberg ruled that oil could keep flowing through the pipeline while the Army Corps conducted an additional review on the project.

The order is in line with requests from two Native American tribes to get an independent, third-party auditor to share data obtained during the review, which must be implemented by April 1, 2018.


Monument from DAPL Protest to be Displayed at Smithsonian

A 12-foot mile-marker constructed by protestors during their months-long fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline will be on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in D.C.

The structure was made as a centerpiece of the protest camp in southern North Dakota that began its sprawl in August of 2016 until it was forced to disband in February this year. It showed the distances that protestors traveled from around the globe, ranging from homes 50 yards to some 4,000 miles away.

A total of more than 12,000 activists protested the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which is now in operation, saying it violated Native rights and would ruin water supply.

The camp was forced to disband in February for safety reasons as the spring flooding season was on its way after an incredibly harsh winter.

The mile-marker post will be the final piece of an exhibit in the Smithsonian called "Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations." It will be on display through 2021.

Washington Post