When will the old Enbridge Line 3 pipeline get shut down? It’s up to the EPA

But what does ‘as expeditiously as practical’ mean?

A major reason the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted to approve the new and larger Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline is because commissioners were deathly afraid that original (and aging) Line 3 would rupture and spill somewhere along its northern Minnesota route.

Recall that then-PUC Commissioner Dan Lipschultz famously said that he felt like he had “a gun to the head,” meaning he either approved the new Line 3 or risked a major spill on the old Line 3.

Enbridge filed notice with the PUC Sept. 29 that Line 3 “is expected to be placed into service, with line fill activities reaching Minnesota, as early as October 3, 2021.”

That should put the gears in motion to shut down the old Line 3. That was the deal.

I’m guessing Enbridge would like to double dip as long as it can, running both pipelines and getting more profits. So who’s going to force Enbridge to stop running the old Line 3?

It’s the federal government’s responsibility, but exactly when that will happen isn’t clear.

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Another Enbridge promise bites the dust, to Minnesota regulators’ indifference

Enbridge promised the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that the Line 3 Decommissioning Trust Fund would be in place before it started Line 3 operations.

It turns out to be an empty promise, because it’s not enforceable. Enbridge will start Line 3 operations in the coming weeks, and the PUC has yet to open proceedings on the Decommissioning Trust Fund.

It’s one more act in the Kabuki theater that’s Minnesota’s regulatory oversight of Enbridge Line 3: All image, no substance.

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Tar sands industry, Enbridge, face collapsing insurance market for spill cleanups

Take heart, water protectors, public pressure is having success in stopping the tar sands oil industry.

Ironically, pressure seems to be more successful on the private sector than government itself, which is supposed to protect the public interest.

This month, Chubb Insurance announced it was dropping coverage on any tar sands oil projects, the result of public pressure, according to the Insurance Business Magazine. (Chubb describes itself as “the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company.”)

In June 2020, the Swiss-based Zurich insurance company announced it was dropping its coverage of Canada’s Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline. Zurich had been the pipeline’s lead insurer.

Some 16 insurance companies have dropped Trans Mountain’s coverage.

“Insurers are being pressured by environmental activist groups to exit their coverage of fossil fuel infrastructure because, without insurance, these projects can be stopped in their tracks,” according to an article in the Insurance Journal.

The insurance crunch will have an impact on Enbridge, and raise challenging questions for Minnesota state regulators.

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Line 3’s almost done, but the promised Decommissioning Trust Fund still isn’t in place

In 2018, Enbridge proposed, and the PUC accepted, the creation of a Line 3 Decommissioning Trust Fund to pay for the removal and clean up of the new Line when its taken out of service.

It’s been three years, and that agreement’s still in limbo. The Minnesota Department of Commerce has contested Enbridge’s language and it’s yet to be resolved.

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State of Intimidation Part II: Police overkill on Capitol Hill

South lawn of the Minnesota State Capitol. Photo: Maggie Schuppert

Minnesota law enforcement launched an over-the-top, fear-and-intimidation response to water protectors camped out in front the Capitol Friday.

The ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally had run Monday-Thursday on the Minnesota State Capitol Mall, calling on elected officials to shut down the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. It was a peaceful scene; roughly 20 tipis had been erected on the mall.

By late Thursday, a single large tipi remained. Native leaders were holding ceremony. Others were sleeping on the mall, according to one participant.

On Friday morning, law enforcement officers approached from multiple directions and swarmed the lone tipi. [Update: A media release from ResistLine3.org estimated 200 officers responded.] It as if they were trying to prevent a hostage situation or a bank robbery.

They demanded the tipi come down.

Indigenous leaders had to negotiate to be allowed to take the tipi down so that it could be saved rather than have law enforcement tear it down, one source said.

[Update: Six people had been arrested Friday.] The charges were not immediately known.

This situation raises significant questions about law enforcement’s bias against Indigenous water protectors and its ability to respond in proportion to the situation.

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Enbridge has to clean up water it polluted decades ago in order to use it for Line 3 dewatering

Enbridge’s controversial plans to increase dewatering during Line 3 construction got an added complication: Workers need to dewater in areas where the company had past crude oil spills, leaving 8,400 gallons in ground for decades.

That means Enbridge has to treat the dewatered polluted water before returning it to the environment.

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