The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission yesterday voted 3-1 to approve an updated final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for Enbridge’s $2.6 billion Line 3 replacement project. The regulators determined the review sufficiently addressed the impacts of a potential spill in the Lake Superior watershed, reinstating two key approvals to proceed with the project. The commission had previously approved an EIS in March 2018, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals sent the previous version back to the commission after determining it failed to consider the potential risks of an oil spill in the watershed.
If completed, the proposed crude oil pipeline would replace the aging Line 3 Pipeline, which was built in the 1960s and is increasingly prone to corrosion and cracking and can only run at about half its original capacity. Obtaining regulator support was a key step for Enbridge as they move forward on obtaining additional state and federal permits.
Below is a statement that can be attributed to me, Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition:
“The GAIN Coalition applauds the Minnesota PUC’s ruling showing support for the Line 3 project. Regulatory certainty and a straightforward permitting process are key to welcoming investment in our nation’s energy infrastructure network. Unfortunately, environmental activists continue to undermine their own argument by opposing the Line 3 project – which prioritizes safety and mitigates potential environment impact by replacing the fifty year-old pipeline with modern infrastructure outfitted with the latest technology and built to the highest safety standards.
“Pipelines take the risk off the road – Line 3 is no different. Opposing the development of energy infrastructure will not minimize the growing demand for energy. Rather, it will only force producers to turn to transporting product by less reliable methods like train and truck.”