The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers yesterday issued the final federal permit for Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project, as reported by E&E News. The permit covers construction-related effects to wetlands, including the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. This decision comes after years of regulatory review and legal challenges to the replacement project. While the project is still awaiting final approval from the state of Minnesota,
The Corps’ release highlighted the extensive review process that ultimately led to the project’s permitting:
The Corps determined the Line 3 project is compliant with all federal laws and regulations. This includes complying with the National Environmental Policy Act, Section 408 approval for modifications of existing Corps projects, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and the project not being contrary to the public interest.
“This decision is based on balancing development with protecting the environment,” said Col. Karl Jansen, St Paul District commander. “Our decision follows an exhaustive review of the application and the potential impacts associated with the construction of the pipeline within federally protected waters. Our staff worked deliberately and extensively with our federal and state partners, federally recognized Tribes, environmental organizations and the applicant. I believe our decision is based on sound science and strikes the balance between protecting natural resources and allowing reasonable development.”
The project brings significant economic benefits for Minnesotans, too. A spokesperson for Enbridge told E&E News:
“The project is poised to provide significant economic benefits for counties, small businesses, Native American communities, and union members — bringing 4,200 family-sustaining, mostly local construction jobs, millions of dollars in local spending and additional tax revenues at a time when Northern Minnesota needs it most.”