Activists Appeal Line 3 Replacement Approval
A pair of environmental groups have gone to court to challenge the approval of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 replacement project in Minnesota, arguing that the environmental impact statement approved this spring was insufficient.
The replacement of Line 3, a $6.5 billion project that’s the largest in the company’s history, is already underway in Canada, and had been approved in every necessary jurisdiction except Minnesota prior to this year. Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission approved a certificate of need for the work unanimously, if somewhat reluctantly, in late June. The U.S. portion of the project is predicted to cost $2.9 billion and will take place primarily in Minnesota.
Line 3, which stretches from Alberta to Wisconsin, is reportedly at risk for corrosion and deterioration due to a disbonding tapecoat; its condition has led to a reduction in operating pressure and capacity. Enbridge argues that the entire pipeline must be replaced in order to ensure the line’s safety and to restore its original capacity of 760,000 barrels of oil per day—nearly twice what the line conveys currently.
Honor the Earth and Friends of the Headwaters filed an appeal of the PUC’s approval last week, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. The two groups argue that the EIS for the project did not adequately account for potential spills and did not take into account a survey related to tribal matters. Some tribal leaders in Minnesota have expressed concerns about the possibility of the pipeline being routed on tribal lands.
Honor the Earth, which concerns itself with environmental issues vis a vis tribal lands, told the Pioneer Press the EIS was “long” but “shallow.” Enbridge officials countered that the permitting process was the “most extensive” for any pipeline in the history of the state.