(The Center Square) – The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday upheld the State Utilities Board’s approval of the Line 3 replacement project.
The Court of Appeal determined that the MPUC’s approval of the environmental impact study for Line 3, the certificate of requirement and the route permit was correct.
The new 337-mile pipeline replaces 283 miles of the existing Line 3 and will cross Minnesota from the North Dakota border to the Wisconsin border.
âAfter six years of community engagement, environmental review, regulatory and legal review, it is good to see confirmation of previous decisions on the Line 3 Replacement Project,â Vern Yu, Executive Vice President and Chairman of Enbridge Liquid Pipelines. âFrom the outset, the project aimed to improve the safety and reliability of communities and protect the environment. “
Line 3 was built in the 1960s, before modern federal and state laws applicable to the construction, route and operation of pipelines. A report in 2014-15 concluded that 70% of the approximately 140,000 seals showed signs of extreme corrosion. In addition, the study concluded that 3,000 joints would exhibit corrosion deeper than 50% of the pipeline thickness, and estimated that this number would increase to 25,500 joints by 2030.
During its peak period of operation, Line 3 carried 760 kilograms of barrels per day, but reduced this level to 390 kilograms of barrels per day due to safety considerations after 2008.
In her noticeJudge Lucinda E. Jesson wrote: âThese decisions were not made in a vacuum. Rather, they followed vigorous public debate. In addition to regular Minnesotans – some in favor and others against the replacement of Line 3 – the Panel heard from interested groups, including several Indian tribes whose interests are affected by the existing Line 3 or who would be affected by the pipeline. of substitution ; environmental organizations opposed to the replacement of the pipeline; the professional organizations that hoped to use the pipeline and the unions that hope to build it; and the Ministry of Commerce, which said there was no need for the replacement pipeline. And the commission deliberated amid deterioration of the existing pipeline and a federal consent order ordering Enbridge to replace the existing Line 3, if it could get state approval to do so.
The Sierra Club is opposed to the pipeline replacement project and issued a new statement Monday afternoon citing Margaret Levin, state director of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, as well as representatives of other environmental groups.
“Today’s decision is deeply disappointing and paves the way for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to continue to ignore the health of our communities, water and climate as well as lifestyles and treaty rights. Ojibwe people, âLevin said. “Construction of Line 3 is underway – all eyes are now on the Biden administration to fulfill its commitments on climate action and indigenous peoples’ rights by shutting down Line 3.”
Court of Appeal Judge Peter M. Reyes, Jr., released a dissenting opinion. “This tribunal owes no deference to the analysis or decision of the PUC when it is based on an error of law, arbitrary or capricious, or not supported by substantial evidence,” he wrote.
Noting Reyes’ dissent, Winona LaDuke, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Honor the Earth, and Brent Murcia, Certified Student Lawyer for Youth Climate Intervenors.
âToday’s court decision is a step backwards, but not the end of this years-long struggle to protect the health and livability of our state and our climate,â said Murcia. âThe desire of fossil fuel companies to ship more oil does not equal the need for a new pipeline. The world is changing, and now more than ever we know that building an unnecessary new oil sands pipeline with emissions from 50 coal-fired power plants is old and reckless thinking. This movement will continue to work to resist this toxic project, and President Biden must act now to ensure it is never completed. “