Enbridge Line 3’s lingering question: Why do state regulators trust Enbridge?

And would they do anything different for the next pipeline proposal?

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) seemed to have had an unfounded confidence that Enbridge would follow the rules while building its new Line 3/93 tar sands pipeline across 337 miles of northern Minnesota.

As we now know, Line 3/93 construction resulted in three significant aquifer breaches and extensive water problems in Walker Brook Valley.

All were preventable. There is likely more damage than currently made public.

Continue reading

Walker Brook shows we still don’t know the extent of Enbridge Line 3’s construction damage

Waadookawaad Amikwag is working to find out

Screen grab from a Waadookawaad Amikwag 2022 video. The wood-plank road allowed Enbridge to bring heavy equipment into a wetland.

Enbridge work crews officially finished building the new Line 3 tar sands pipeline across northern Minnesota in late September, 2021. The last section completed ran through the Walker Brook valley, a forested peat bog in Clearwater County.

Less than a year later, work crews returned to Walker Brook to fix problems created by this ill-considered and poorly permitted project.

State regulators haven’t talked about problems at Walker Brook publicly. Members of the public don’t know how many other Line 3/93 construction damage sites exist that they haven’t been told about. (Regulators don’t talk about them until they have been investigated and, if appropriate, levied fines, which leaves the public in the dark for long periods of time.)

I wouldn’t have known about the problems at Walker Brook but for friends who volunteer with a group called Waadookawaad Amikwag (Anishinaabemowin for Those who help beaver). They coordinate with drone pilots who monitor the Line 3/93 corridor looking for potential trouble spots. When problem areas are identified, volunteers go in on foot for a first-hand look.

On a recent Sunday, I joined my friends in what they call a “ground truthing” of the Walker Brook site.

Continue reading