Pipeline Updates: Breathing Room on Line 3 Construction, the Necessity Defense Gains Ground, and More

Lots of news to share on the pipeline front, short summaries and links follow

  • Positive sign: Enbridge tells shareholders Line 3 construction won’t start until year’s end
  • Massachusetts judge affirms “Necessity Defense” for civil disobedience against pipeline causing climate damage
  • Michigan Governor stops Enbridge Line 5 tunnel under the Great Lakes
  • “Stop bankrolling Line 3” event
  • Enbridge’s greenwashing

Enbridge Tells Shareholders Construction Won’t Start Until Late 2019

Enbridge is telling shareholders it won’t seek Line 3 construction permits from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) until November or December, 2019.

This is a small sigh of relief for Line 3 opponents. The PUC already approved both Line 3’s Certificate of Need and its Route Permit. Line 3 opponents have worried Enbridge would try to start construction while other state and federal permits were pending. Enbridge has every incentive to give an optimistic outlook to shareholders, so the fact its telling them construction won’t start for seven to eight months is encouraging.

Construction delays will give space for lawsuits against Line 3 in the Minnesota Court of Appeals to proceed.

‘Necessity Defense’ Gains Ground

A Boston judge has acquitted 13 people involved in 2016 civil disobedience to block construction of a fracked gas pipeline, according to a report by the  website EcoWatch. The activists successfully argued that “the threat of climate change necessitated their civil disobedience.”

The article quotes from a story ran by ShadowProof

Part of why Judge Mary Ann Driscoll found no liability was because they [the activists] engaged in a sustained effort to end the project and attempted legal remedies by the city council, mayor, and other agencies to stop the pipeline.

The pipeline opened in 2017. Click on the links for more details.

Michigan Governor Stops Enbridge Pipeline Tunnel Under the Great Lakes

Enbridge’s plans to drill a four-mile tunnel under Straits of Mackinac (where lakes Huron and Ontario join) for a crude oil pipeline has hit a major roadblock.

The project got approved while then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s was a lame duck, according to an AP story. Incoming Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel ran against the pipeline during the fall elections. Nessel recently ruled the law approving the tunnel was unconstitutional and Whitmer ordered state agencies to stop working on the project.

Click on the link for more details.

Stop Bankrolling Line 3!

The group Northfield Against Line 3 is inviting people to join in a National Day of Action to #DefundDisaster and demand that big banks stop actively funding climate disaster and the violation of Indigenous rights.

The action is Wednesday, April 10, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  at The People’s Plaza in downtown Minneapolis, 352 S. Fifth St. Facebook Event here.

Enbridge’s Greenwashing

For those interested in the truth-bending world of marketing-speak, here is a link to Enbridge’s “Climate Policy.” It starts with this Preamble:

Enbridge believes the world must find new ways to meet increasing demand for energy from a growing global population while limiting the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change. As a North American leader in energy infrastructure systems that deliver oil, natural gas and renewable energy we are uniquely positioned to help bridge the transition to a low carbon economy. The purpose of the Enbridge Climate Policy is to guide our company’s efforts to play a leadership role in the transition to a lower carbon future.

Comment: Tar sands crude oil is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels. Building the new Enbridge Line 3 is the climate change equivalent of approving 50 new coal-fired energy plants. According to Enbridge’ shareholder information, the company’s mainline system (which runs through Minnesota) will increase from 2,185 million barrels of oil per day in 2015 to 2,685 million barrels of oil per day by the end of 2018 — a 23 percent increase — and that’s before the new Line 3 opens. Doesn’t sound like much of an effort to reduce greenhouse gases.

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