Minnesota has an opportunity to stop an unnecessary and ill-advised crude oil pipeline project in our state, called Enbridge Line 3. It would run from Alberta, through 337 miles of northern Minnesota, to Superior, Wisconsin.
Who is Enbridge? Enbridge is a large energy transportation business with several tar sands crude oil pipelines running through Minnesota. Enbridge has a poor safety track record. Notably, it was responsible for a 2010 pipeline rupture that spilled more than one million gallons of heavy tar sands crude oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River, according to Wikipedia. Its impact was felt 25 miles down river. By 2014, the cleanup costs topped $1.2 billion. The largest inland oil spill in U.S. history happened on Enbridge Line 3 near Grand Rapids, Minn., and would have been much worse but it happened in winter when the ground and rivers were frozen.
What’s the Problem? The current Enbridge Line 3 is failing. Enbridge wants to abandon it in the ground, leaving it for someone else to clean up later. It wants to install a new and larger pipeline through northern Minnesota along a new route, cutting through the Mississippi headwaters region as well as prime wild rice areas. Canadian tar sands mining deforests land, pollutes air and water, and does great harm to indigenous communities. Minnesota’s environmental impact statement said the tar sands pumped through the proposed Line 3 would create $287 billion in “social costs to carbon” over the next 30 years. That reflects climate change costs to agriculture, human health, increased flooding, etc. That is a huge price to pay, especially considering the United States already is a net exporter of refined petroleum. We do not need this pipeline for our energy security. The Minnesota section of the pipeline violates treaty rights and creates unnecessary environmental risks from pipeline ruptures.
Who decides on the project? The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has the final say on the project, unless the legislature intervenes. (Last session there was an bill to take the decision out of the PUC’s hands, which did not pass. Another attempt to circumvent the process could be tried when the Legislature reconvenes in February.)
The project needs two key approvals. It needs an approved environmental impact statement (EIS) and it needs approval for a “Certificate of Need” and “Route Permit.”Each of those issues are before two different administration law judges who will make recommendations to the PUC.
Environmental Impact Statement: The ALJ in this case has recommended finding the EIS “adequate.” This is a bad decision. The EIS is faulty and needs to be redone. The PUC will vote on this issue Dec. 7. Event if approved, environmental and indigenous groups could challenge that approval in court.
Certificate of Need: The public comment period is over, and so is the contested case hearing, a quasi judicial process with witnesses and cross examination. The ALJ assigned to this issue has not yet made a recommendation. The PUC is expected to take a final vote on the Certificate of Need in April.
Below are resources to help you understand the proposal and why it is a bad idea for Minnesota.
Honor the Earth
- Honor the Earth Line 3 highlights
- Honor the Earth’s EIS Guide
- Support Tribal Environmental Impact Statement for Line 3 (Honor the Earth)
- Line 3 Abandonment Fact Sheet (Honor the Earth)
- Beyond DAPL: The Line 3 Battles Looms on the Horizon
- What is Line 3?
- Enbridge Line 3 Fact Sheet
Sierra Club North Star Chapter
- Tar Sands Fact Sheet
- Line 3 Fact Sheet
- Line 3 and Energy Security
- Line 3 and Treaty Rights Fact Sheet
Healing Minnesota Stories Blogs on Line 3 and related topics
Nov. 25, 2017: Enbridge Updates: Problems in Minnesota, Problems in Michigan
Nov. 21, 2017: PUC to Vote Thursday, Dec. 7 on Line 3’s Environmental Impact Statement
Nov. 20, 2017: Bad News, Good News on Keystone XL
Nov. 20, 2017: Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Storage Yards Appear to Violate Law, MPCA Approved Them with No Scrutiny
Nov. 18, 2017: Deck is Stacked Against Water Protectors
Nov. 2, 2017: U.S. Bank Pulls Enbridge Line of Credit, Line 3 Opponents Say
Nov. 2, 2017: Disappointment: Conservative Judge Rules Enbridge Line 3 EIS “Adequate”
Oct. 27, 2017: When Does Video Game Violence Cross the Line? Apparently When it is Violence Against Pipelines
Oct. 24, 2017: MN Dept. of Commerce Reaffirms Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline is not Needed
Oct. 2, 2017: What are the Risks of a Line 3 Tar Sands Crude Oil Spill? Government Analysis Fails to Give Clear Answers
Sept. 30, 2017: Tar Sands Pipeline Opponents Rally, March, and Pack the Hearing; Line 3 Backers Offer Easily Refuted Arguments
Sept. 27, 2017: Native Youth Interrupt Governor’s Water Quality Town Hall; Dayton Promises Private Meeting, But Still Neutral on Line 3
Sept. 26, 2017: Business Lobby Ad Buy Tries to Put Clean Face on Pipeline’s Dirty Tar Sands Crude; It Fails
Sept. 26, 2017: Commerce Offers Rushed and Incomplete Responses to Draft EIS Criticisms
Sept. 21, 2017: Ways You Can Support Minnesota Water Protector Camps; Enbridge’s Latest Safety Problem; Island Returned to Grand Portage Anishinaabe
Sept. 20, 2017: Enbridge Tries to Sneak a Line 3 Expansion Through Under the Guise of a Replacement Project
Sept. 12, 2017: Dayton Remains Noncommital on Tar Sands Pipeline — Keep the Pressure On!
Sept. 11, 2017: Minnesota Dept. of Commerce: Enbridge Has Not Established Need for the Tar Sands Pipeline; Risks Outweigh Benefits
Sept. 10, 2017: Environmental Analysis of Tar Sands Pipeline Fails on Readability, Citizen Engagement
Sept. 7, 2017: Does Minnesota Need a New Tar Sands Pipeline? Commerce Ducks Critical Question in EIS
Sept. 5, 2017: Commerce Takes Enbridge Assumption as Fact, Low Balls Impact of New Tar Sands Pipeline
Sept. 3, 2017: Line 3 Update: Paddle to Protect Youth Complete 250-Mile Journey; Petition Needs Your Signature; The Big Sandy Lake “Tragedy”; Pipeline Work in Minnesota?
Aug, 30, 2017: News: Knights of the Forest Were Minnesota’s KKK; Line 3 Pipeline Direct Non-Violent Action
Aug. 24, 2017: Line 3 Updates: Protest Temporarily Halts Construction in WI; Hearing Monday
Aug. 18, 2017: Deeply Flawed Environmental Analysis of Tar Sands Pipeline Needs to Go Back to Square One
Aug. 17, 2017: Red Lake Nation Asks Governor Dayton to Delay Release of EIS on Enbridge Line 3
Aug. 16, 2017: Tribal Liaison For Enbridge Line 3 Quits State Job, Cites Minnesota’s Lack of “Good Faith” Effort
Aug. 11, 2017: Water Protector Updates from Minnesota to Maine; Burial Site on Fond du Lac Disturbed; Another Public Art Controversy … And More
Aug. 7, 2017: Congress Needs to Investigate Corporate Influence on Law Enforcement’s DAPL Response
July 29, 2017: Keystone XL Developer Waffling on Project, and other Weekend Reading
July 28, 2017: In Show of Hubris, Enbridge Starts Tar Sands Pipeline Work Well in Advance of Minnesota Approvals
July 27, 2017: FYI Water Protectors: Governor Dayton is Holding Water Quality Town Hall Meetings
July 5, 2017: One More Reason Why We Don’t Need More Canadian Tar Sands Crude Pumped Through Minnesota
July 5, 2017: MPR Tar Sands Pipeline Story Flawed, Slanted
July 1, 2015: A Pipeline Tour and Visit to Turtle Island Camp
June 30, 2017: Only 10 Days Left to Comment on Tar Sands Pipeline EIS; What We Learned from the Bemidji Hearing
June 27, 2017: Report: Tar Sands Tailing Ponds Hold Hidden Costs, a Legacy of Cancer Risks
June 26, 2017: Reminder: Teach-In Tonight on Proposed Tar Sands Pipeline Expansion in Minnesota
June 22, 2017: Line 3 Teach In: Learn about Proposed Tar Sands Pipeline through Northern Minnesota and What You Can Do to Stop it!
June 15, 2017: Hundreds Opposed to Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline Flood St. Paul Public Hearing
June 10, 2017: Enbridge Line 3: White Earth Spirit Camp Forms; Upcoming Events
June 6, 2017: Honor the Earth, Other Groups, Add New Education Resources to Stop Line 3
June 4, 2017: Next Sacred Sites Tour June 24; Update on Enbridge Line 3; and Trump’s Review of National Monuments
May 31, 2017: Your Help Needed to Stop Enbridge Line 3, Public Comment Period Now Open
May 23, 2017: Enbridge: Corporate Social Responsibility or Greenwashing?
May 22, 2017: “Environmental Justice” Analysis of Proposed Crude Oil Pipeline is Flawed, Lacks Native Voices
May 20, 2017: Efforts to Stop Tar Sands Pipeline Through Northern Minnesota Enter New Phase
April 7, 2017: Gov. Dayton Needs to Veto Deeply Flawed Energy Bill that Fast Tracks Enbridge Line 3
March 27, 2017: Stop Enbridge Line 3 — Minnesota’s Version of the Dakota Access Pipeline
March 24, 2017: Is Water Sacred or a Commodity? How We Answer That Question Will Define Our Future
March 17, 2017: When Simply Wearing “Water is Life” Becomes a Threatening Protest
March 9, 2017: U.S. State Department an Embarrassment at Tar Sands Meeting; Other News Updates
Jan. 12, 2017: Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Doing Its Own Environmental Impact Statement for Northern MN Pipeline
Jan. 3, 2017: Minnesota Faces its Own Pipeline Battle: Enbridge Line 3