MN Line 3 updates
The Minnesota Court of Appeals has thrown out the state Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) approval of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project. It determined that the EIS didn’t adequately address the potential impact of a spill in the Lake Superior watershed. Redoing the EIS is a significant potential delay, given that other permits were granted by the PUC that rely on the EIS being adequate.
Everyone is still analyzing the ripple effects of this decision, but it is a critical decision that will push back the timeline into the fall and may impact other state and federal permits that are required for the project to move ahead. There are so many variables: Will Enbridge appeal the EIS decision to the MN Supreme Court? Will the MN supreme Court accept Enbridge’s appeal or reject it? Will the PUC say that the Certificate of Need and route decisions they approved will stand or, since they were given without an acceptable EIS, will they have to be applied for all over again? We know that 401 or 404 water permits cannot be issued now. Applications will be terminated and must be reapplied for once a revised EIS is accepted. Delay to start of construction could be considerable. (https://www.reuters.com/article/enbridge-inc-pipeline/aging-enbridge-oil-pipelines-face-setbacks-over-fears-of-great-lakes-spills-idUSL2N23E0L6)
Keep up to date on the fight to stop Line 3 from MN350.org.
Enbridge sues Michigan to keep Line 5 open
In the final days of 2018, outgoing Governor Snyder of Michigan and Republican legislators engineered an agreement with Enbridge to replace the aging Line 5 that runs under the Straits of Mackinac by building a tunnel and putting the Line 5 pipeline and other utilities that cross the Mackinac Straits into it. Incoming Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel oppose the last-minute deal. Negotiations with Enbridge were in process; however, they have broken down. AG Nessel has said that she will shut down Line 5 herself if agreement isn’t reached with Enbridge soon.
If Line 5 is shut down, downstream capacity from Superior is reduced. This will likely place greater emphasis on constructing the Line 61 ‘twin’/Line 66. (https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/29/nessel-vows-shut-line-5-unless-whitmer-gets-pact-junes-end/1268681001/)