A pipeline route permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) is required for the construction of certain pipelines (Minnesota Statute 216G).  The Commission has jurisdiction over pipelines with a diameter of six inches or more that are designed to transport hazardous liquids like crude petroleum, and those that are designed to carry natural gas and be operated at a pressure of more than 275 pounds per square inch. 

However, the Commission's authority does not apply to interstate natural gas pipelines regulated under the federal Natural Gas Act and to pipeline owners or operators who are defined as a natural gas public utility under Minnesota Statute 216B.02.  The rules for the administration of pipeline route permits are found in Minnesota Rules Chapter 7852.

Open Projects

Open projects are projects currently in the permitting process. They are listed here chronologically, most recent projects first. To see all projects or to search for a project by location or type, see the project database

Docket Number Project Name Description
Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation is proposing to install approximately 13.1 miles of new natural gas pipeline west and south of the city of Rochester in Olmsted County, Minnesota
Enbridge Energy proposes to replace 337 miles of the Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota. Line 3 originates in Canada, continues through North Dakota, enters Minnesota in Kittson County, and terminates in Superior, Wiscsonsin.
A Comparative Environmental Review of the Proposed Minnesota Pipe Line Reliability Project and the Alternatives Identified in the Certificate of Need Application
Minnesota Power is proposing to construct an approximate 5,900-foot-long, 10.75-inch-outside diamter, high pressure natural gas pipeline from a Northern Natural Gas pipeline to its Laskin Energy Center in Hoyt Lakes in St. Louis County
North Dakota Pipeline Company LLC (NDPC) is proposing to develop a new crude oil pipeline and associated facilities known as the Sandpiper Project to increase crude oil transportation services from North Dakota to refineries in the the U.S. Midwest and eastern Canada. The Sandpiper Project route would extend from NDPC's Beaver Lodge Station south of Tioga, North Dakota, to the Superior Terminal in Superior, Wisconsin.


Full Review

The permitting process to be followed for a pipeline route permit depends on the size and type of the pipeline. The full review process is applicable to pipeline projects anticipated to have significant environmental impacts.  The applicant must identify its preferred route.  Commission staff and Department of Commerce, Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (EERA) staff hold public information meetings and solicit comments on the proposed pipeline project. The Commission considers alternative routes, requests a comparative environmental analysis of routes (CEA), and orders a contested case hearing.  The Commission may authorize that the CEA be prepared by the applicant or by EERA staff.  The contested case hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge.  The Commission uses the criteria in Minnnesota Rule 7852.1900 in selecting a route and issuing a pipeline route permit.  Minn. Rules 7852 | Full Review Flowchart.

Partial Exemption Review

The partial exemption review process is applicable to relatively smaller pipeline projects that are not anticipated to have significant environmental impacts.  Applicants must apply for the partial exemption process.  Comission staff and EERA staff hold public information meetings and solicit comments on the proposed pipeline project.  The Commission may grant or deny the partial exemption.  The Commission uses the criteria in Minnnesota Rule 7852.0700 in determining whether a project qualifies for a partial exemption and pipeline route permit.  If the Commission determines that the project will not have significant environmental impacts, the Commission may issue a pipeline route permit for the project.  If the Commission determines that the project will have significant environmental impacts, the Commission may deny a pipeline route permit under the partial exemption process.  The applicant may then request that their application be considered under the full review process.  Minn. Rules 7852 | Partial Exemption Review Flowchart.

Certificate of Need

A certificate of need from the Commission is required for a proposed pipeline project that is a large energy facility per Minnesota Statute 216B.2421.  In the certificate of need process, the Commission determines the type of facility to be constructed (e.g., new pipe, pump stations, storage tanks), the size of the facility, and when the project must be in service.  The Commission typically orders a contested case hearing for a certificate of need application.  The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources evaluates all pipeline projects requiring a certificate of need according to Minnesota statutes and rules.  EERA staff conducts any environmental analysis requested by the Commission for pipeline projects requiring a certificate of need.  Minn. Rules 7853 | Certificate of Need Flowchart.