Enbridge Line 3

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted June 29, 2018, to approve construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline through 340 miles of northern Minnesota. The vote was a bitter disappointment to water protects and those concerned about Minnesota’s pristine lands and indigenous rights.

Map shows current Line 3 and Enbridge’s proposed route.

On Dec. 13, 2018, the PUC took its last procedural vote on the matter, denying a request to reconsider its approval of the new Line 3 route. There are still several opportunities to stop Line 3.

Groups recognized as official intervenors before the PUC had the challenge the PUC’s decision before the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The PUC’s decision has several weaknesses, leaving strong options for appeal. The PUC:

  • Rejected the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s argument that Enbridge failed to meet state laws requiring the company to prove a new Line was needed based on crude oil demand.
  • Rejected information in Line 3’s environmental impact statement saying the new Line 3 would create $287 billion in climate damage over three decades.
  • Refused to acknowledge that treaty rights remained an open and legitimate issue.
  • Rejected the clear conclusion from the Administrative Law Judge reviewing the case that it should not approve Enbridge’s preferred route because the costs outweighed the benefits.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce filed an appeal, the Friends of the Headwaters filed an appeal, and the Youth Climate Intervenors filed an appeal. The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Honor the Earth and the Sierra Club filed a joint appeal.

Indigenous and environmental groups pushed Gov. Mark Dayton to take a stand against Line 3 for more than a year. In his final weeks in office, Dayton took a very positive step to stop this unnecessary project. According to his news release, he said:

“I strongly support my Commerce Department’s appeal of the Public Utilities Commission’s Order.

“Enbridge failed to provide a future demand forecast for its product, which is required by state law. Instead, the company presented its analysis of the future oil supply from Canadian tar sands extractions. It failed to demonstrate that Minnesota needs this pipeline to meet our future oil demand. In fact, most of the product would flow through our state to supply other states and countries.

Newly elected Gov. Tim Walz did not immediately commit to continuing with the lawsuit, wanting his staff to review it. On Feb. 12, 2019, the administration announced the Department of Commerce appeal would continue. “As I often say, projects like these don’t only need a building permit to go forward, they also need a social permit. Our Administration has met with groups on all sides of this issue, and Minnesotans deserve clarity, Walz said.

Line 3 also still needs more than two dozen permits before it can start construction. One key permit is a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Section 401 Permit allowing Line 3 to cross water bodies — and Line 3 crosses many. The new Line 3 would cross the Mississippi River — twice, including the headwaters — as well as affect many nearby lakes and streams. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also has to approve similar water crossing permits. We must put pressure on the state and the MPCA to apply the highest environmental protection standards.

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. 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.

Key Public Documents:

Below are resources to help you understand the proposal and why it is a bad idea for Minnesota.

Information Sheets:

Honor the Earth

Sierra Club North Star Chapter

Other Websites

Healing Minnesota Stories Blogs on Line 3 and related topics

April 10, 2019: DNR Approves Enbridge Line 3 “Pre-Construction” Work; Trump Expected to Weaken State’s Pipeline Oversight

April 5, 2019: State to Audit PUC’s Flawed Public Engagement Process

April 5, 2019: Pipeline Updates: Breathing Room on Line 3 Construction, the Necessity Defense Gains Ground, and More

April 2, 2019: PUC Could Get Needed Scrutiny from the Legislative Audit Commission

March 29, 2019: Trump Expected to Sign Executive Order Expediting Pipelines, Report Says, and Other News

March 27, 2019: Legislative Update on Proposed MMIW Task Force, Bill to Defund Lawsuit Against Enbridge Line 3

March 20, 2019: Corporate Clout Used Against Environmental Defenders

March 14, 2019: For Enbridge Line 3, It’s the Calm Before the Storm

March 4, 2019: In Approving Major Crude Oil Pipelines, Consulting with Native Nations is Not Enough; the Goal is Consent

March 2, 2019: Construction of Enbridge Line 3 Delayed At Least One Year

Feb. 24, 2019: Minnesota Law Enforcement Already Coordinating with Enbridge to Respond to Line 3 Protests, Report Says

Feb. 12, 2019: Walz Administration to Continue Legal Challenge Against Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline

Feb. 8, 2019: At Critical Juncture, Faith Leaders Call on Gov. Walz to Stop Enbridge Line 3

Feb. 6, 2019: Line 3 Updates: Rep. Ilhan Omar Opposes Pipeline; Facebook Shuts Down Direct Action Group’s Page

Feb. 5, 2019: Four Arrested in Northern MN for Pipeline Tampering and Other News and Events

Jan. 30, 2019: Enbridge is Pulling a Bait-and-Switch — Will the PUC Finally Take a Stand?

Jan. 16, 2019: Call Gov. Walz, Tell Him to Support Lawsuit to Stop Enbridge Line 3

Jan. 10, 2019: Gov. Walz Administration Reconsidering Enbridge Line 3 Lawsuit; Pipeline Resisters Organizing Peaceful Inaugural Response

Jan. 5, 2019: Questions and Criticisms Abound in Enbridge Line 3’s ‘Tribal Economic Opportunity’ Plan

Dec. 21, 2019: MN Dept. of Commerce Joins Appeal Against Enbridge Line 3, Protest at Line 3 Storage Yard, and More

Dec. 17, 2019: PUC Staff Oversteps Authority, Shows Bias Against Pipeline Resisters

Dec. 12, 2018: MN350 Launches Rapid Action Team to Keep Pressure On Enbridge Line 3

Nov. 27, 2018: Water Protectors Expose Hidden Line 3 Pipeyard Near Fond du Lac Reservation, Erect Tipi to Stop Offloading Trucks

Nov. 20, 2018: After Line 3 Vote, Two PUC Commissioners Appear at Comedy Improv Theater, Curtain Falls Early

Nov. 19, 2018: PUC Casts Final Pro Pipeline Vote: Line 3 Opposition Now Heads to the Courts, Streets, Camps, Pulpits, and Gov. Walz’s Office

Nov. 15, 2018: As Key Enbridge Line 3 Vote Looms Monday, Encouraging News in Other Pipeline Resistance Efforts

Oct. 31, 2018: Youth Rally Against Climate Change, Promise Legal Challenge to Line 3 Crude Oil Pipeline

Oct. 18, 2018: Enbridge’s Oil Spill Analysis Not Credible, Ignores Tribal Impacts, Appears Intentionally Confusing

Oct. 9, 2018: Climate Change Report Makes it Urgent the PUC Reverses Vote to Approve the Line 3 Oil Pipeline; Judge Tosses Valve Turner Case

Oct. 5, 2018: The PUC Fog Machine: Commission Selectively Uses Line 3’s Environmental Analysis, Favoring Enbridge

Oct. 2, 2018: Legal Challenges Take Shape Against Line 3 and the PUC’s Anti-Indian, Anti-Environment Vote

Sept. 27, 2018: PUC Final Order Approving Line 3 is Racist

Sept. 26, 2018: Strib: MN Commerce Dept. Asks the PUC to Reverse Its Ruling and Deny Enbridge Line 3 Permits

Sept. 23, 2018: Enbridge Opposes Request to Make Public its Insurance Coverage for Major Oil Spill Cleanups in Minnesota

Sept. 11, 2018: Protests Shut Down PUC Meeting on Enbridge Line 3

Sept. 7, 2018: Enbridge Uses “Trade Secret” Tag to Hide Inadequate Spill Insurance; Honor the Earth Tries to Bring it to Light.

Sept. 2, 2018: Fond du Lac Band Chairman Explains Decision to Allow New Oil Pipeline to Cross Reservation Lands.

Aug. 31, 2018: Fond du Lac OK’s Line 3 Crossing its Lands; Commerce Continues Criticism of Enbridge’s Liability Insurance

Aug. 30, 2018: Water Protectors Ask You To Call Gov. Dayton to Stop Line 3!

Aug. 13, 2018: Commerce: Enbridge’s Oil Spill Insurance Inadequate for Line 3 and Mainline System

Aug. 12, 2018: Honor the Earth Files First Legal Challenge to PUC Approval of Enbridge Line 3

Aug. 10, 2018: With Proverbial Gun to its Head, PUC Turns Gun on Fond Du Lac Band Instead

Aug. 5, 2018: Pushing Back on the PUC, Part III: Friends of the Headwaters Finds Gaping Holes in Enbridge’s Promises

Aug. 4, 2018: Pushing Back on the PUC, Part II: State Agencies Criticize Enbridge Line 3 Promises, Seek Changes

Aug. 3, 2018: Pushing Back on the PUC, Part I: Ojibwe Bands Criticize Enbridge’s Rushed Pipeline Promises

July 23, 2018: Enbridge Tries to Bamboozle the PUC, Minnesota’s Dept. of Commerce Pushes Back

July 20, 2018: The Battle of Hayes Pond; The Battle of Bayou Bridge; and Enbridge’s Fingerprints on Minnesota Pipeline Regulations

July 18, 2018: PUC Adds Conditions to Enbridge’s Line 3 Approval, But Only Those Acceptable to Enbridge

July 12, 2018: Episcopal Church Takes a Stand Opposing Line 3

July 12, 2018: Indigenous Prayer Camp in Canada Opposes Line 3; Kinder Morgan Pipeline, Oil Tanker Traffic, Threatens Orcas

July 6, 2018: Eighteen Criticisms of the PUC’s Approval of the Enbridge Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline

July 1, 2018: Water Protectors Rally Outside Gov. Dayton’s Mansion

June 29, 2018: Tell Governor Dayton it’s Time to Take a Stand on Line 3: Action Planned this Sunday

June 28, 2018: PUC Buckles to Enbridge Threats, Nears Approval for Enbridge Line 3

June 28, 2018: PUC Discusses Protests After Line 3 Vote, Police Response and Sex Trafficking

June 27, 2018: Eroding Public Trust, PUC Staff Has Police Evict Sierra Club, MN 350 Staff from Line 3 Hearing without Justification

June 27, 2018: Four Takeaways from Day 3 of PUC Line 3 Hearings

June 19, 2018: Enbridge Line 3 Gets Late Backing from U.S. DOT; Honor the Earth Starts ‘Welcome Water Protectors’ Campaign

June 18, 2018: PUC Opens Final Line 3 Debate: State Remains Firm that Pipeline Isn’t Needed; Enbridge Adds More Concessions

June 12, 2018: PUC Staff Recommends Approving Line 3 Pipeline Along Enbridge’s Preferred Route

June 11, 2018: Judge Takes Sides in Line 3’s Treaty Rights Debate When She Should Have Stayed Neutral

June 5, 2018: Religious Leaders Speak Out Against Enbridge Line 3 as Vote Looms this Month

June 2, 2018: A Desperate Enbridge Plays “We Care About Indians” Card, Motives Seem Suspect

June 1, 2018: Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe: Reject Enbridge Line 3’s Certificate of Need and Route Permit

May 31, 2018: News Updates: Faith Leaders Stepping Up to Oppose Line 3; U.S. Crude Exports Hit Record High; and More

May 30, 2018: Structural Bias in PUC Review Process of Line 3 Favors Enbridge

May 27, 2018: Leech Lake Band Opposes Option to Keep Line 3 Pipeline in the Same Trench

May 26, 2018: DNR Comments on Line 3 Report Raise Additional Environmental Concerns

May 23, 2018: Commerce Department Makes Strong Case Against Line 3, Pushes Back on Judge’s Criticism

May 20, 2018: Block (Line 3) Party at the PUC: An Act of Celebration and Resistance

May 15, 2018: PUC Sets Line 3 Deliberation Dates; Come to Block (Line 3) Party This Weekend!

May 13, 2018: Enbridge’s Credibility Takes Major Hit in Judge’s Line 3 Report; PUC Must Reject Project

May 9, 2018: Enbridge’s “Safety” Argument to Build a New Line 3 is as Flawed as its Pipeline

May 8, 2018: Enbridge is a Decade Away from a Lease Crisis in Minnesota; Line 3 Reroute is its Escape Hatch

May 3, 2018: Enbridge Hit with $1.8 Million Fine for Crude Oil Pipeline Inspection Failings

May 1, 2018: Enbridge’s Secret: It Has Easements Allowing for More Pipelines in the New Corridor

April 25, 2018: MPR Continues to Disappoint in its Enbridge Line 3 Coverage

April 24, 2018: Enbridge Stock Prices Fall Following Line 3 Recommendations; Judge Calls For Something Closer to a True “Replacement Project”

April 23, 2018: Line 3 Recommendations Puts Burden to Stop Line 3 Squarely on the Ojibwe

April 13, 2018: Enbridge Line 3 Facebook Ad Omits Important Stuff

March 24, 2018: Two Bad Pro-Pipeline Bills Up for Hearing This Week in the MN Legislature

March 20, 2018: MPR Buys Into Enbridge Line 3 Spin that Climate Change is Just Too Confusing

March 18, 2018: Red Lake Nation Votes to Evict Enbridge Pipelines; Native Youth to Visit Pope, Ask Him to Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery

March 13, 2018: Line 3 Abandonment: Enbridge Wants to Leave its Mess for Someone Else to Clean Up

March 2, 2018: MN Human Rights Commissioner: State Needs to Listen to Indigenous Concerns About Crude Oil Pipeline

January 15, 2018: Red Lake: Back to Square One with Enbridge Pipeline Trespass

January 9, 2018: Ojibwe Push PUC to Delay Key Line 3 Vote Until Historic Properties Review is Done

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