After pressure from environmental activists during the recent comment period, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) this week announced it will hold a public hearing this summer on Enbridge Inc’s plan to replace its Line 3 oil pipeline, adding a potential three-month delay and pushing the bulk of construction to next year. The hearing will focus on how the pipeline will safely cross streams and wetlands on the route.
The hearing comes after the agency issued a draft water quality certificate for the project earlier this year. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the primary regulator of oil pipelines in the state, also issued approval in February.
Despite a rigorous permitting and approval process, activists continue to challenge the project, advocating for additional regulatory hurdles and more red tape to delay construction – which ultimately impacts American energy consumers. Replacing the pipeline, which was constructed in the 1960s and is only able to run at half capacity, should be a win-win. The replacement bolsters American energy security while also strengthening pipeline safety and efficiency.
Line 3 is a critical component of our nation’s energy infrastructure network. Rather than unnecessarily introducing further uncertainty and challenges, regulators and policymakers have a duty to foster a straightforward infrastructure permitting process that ensures regulatory consistency.