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Enbridge Energy's Proposed Line 3 Pipeline Project

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Public Hearings to be Held for Line 3 Project

Administrative law judge Ann C. O'Reilly will hold public hearings on the Line 3 pipeline project from September 26 to October 26, 2017. Public hearings will be held in Thief River Falls, St. Paul, Grand Rapids, McGregor, Hinckley, Bemidji, Duluth, Cross Lake, and St. Cloud. At the hearings, citizens may question witnesses and offer oral and written comments into the record. The hearing comment period closes at 4:30 p.m., November 22, 2017. Judge O'Reilly is conducting the hearings on behalf of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. For more information on the hearings and how to comment, see the Commission's notice of public and evidentiary hearings.

Final Environmental Impact Statement Available for Comment

The final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Line 3 pipeline project was issued on August 17, 2017. A public comment period (MN Department of Commerce's announcement) on the adequacy of the final EIS runs through 4:30 p.m., October 2, 2017. Comments on the final EIS can be submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission by email, mail, fax and eDockets. More about the final EIS and how to submit comments can be found in the notice of comment period on the final EIS (MN Department of Commerce's announcement).

Project Summary

Enbridge Energy (Enbridge) is proposing to construct a new oil pipeline in Minnesota to replace its existing Line 3 pipeline.  Enbridge is proposing that the new pipeline follow the existing Line 3 pipeline from North Dakota to the Clearbrook Terminal in Clearwater County, Minnesota.  From the Clearbrook Terminal eastward, Enbridge proposes that the pipeline be constructed in a new right-of-way, south of the existing Line 3, ending at an existing terminal in Superior, Wisconsin.  Enbridge is proposing that the existing Line 3 pipeline be permanently deactivated and remain in place.

Enbridge states that the purpose of the project is to address pipeline integrity and safety concerns related to the existing Line 3 and to restore the throughput of the line to its original operating capacity of 760,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Enbridge has applied for a certificate of need (CN) and a route permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) to construct and operate the project.  The Commission has authorized the Department of Commerce, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project.   Following completion of the EIS and public hearings, the Commission will make decisions on Enbridge's CN and route permit applications.

Key Project Documents

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This map depicts the pipeline alternatives being evaluated in the environmental impact statement for the Line 3 project. Users can move to different parts of the map by clicking and dragging the cursor to a new location. Users can zoom in and out using the scroll wheel of their mouse or by clicking on the plus or minus buttons is the viewer toolbox.

The map includes several data layers depicting resources that could be impacted by the project. These data layers can be turned on and off by clicking the box next the data layer name. The data layers extend for 10 miles on either side of an alternative. Some layers are visible at a small map scale (zoomed out). Other map layers are only visible at a large map scale (zoomed in). If you click to view a data layer and do not see the layer depicted, zoom in or out until it appears.

Environmental Review and Permitting Process

Enbridge's proposed Line 3 replacement project requires two approvals from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) - a certificate of need (CN) and a route permit. Enbridge applied to the Commission for these approvals in April 2015.

The Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) requires that an environmental impact statement (EIS) be prepared for major governmental actions that have the potential for creating significant environmental impacts. To fulfill its MEPA responsibilities, the Commission has authorized the preparation of an EIS that addresses Enbridge's CN and route permit applications. The Commission has authorized Commerce's Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (EERA) staff to prepare the EIS, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The EIS will be issued in draft form, a draft EIS, so that it can be improved through public comment. A final EIS will be developed based on comments received on the draft EIS. Upon completion of the final EIS, public hearings will be held in the project area. The hearings will be presided over by an administrative law judge (ALJ) from the Office of Administrative Hearings. The hearings will address Enbridge's CN and route permit applications. At the public hearings, citizens will have an opportunity to submit comments, present evidence, and ask questions. After completion of the hearings, the ALJ will submit a report to the Commission with findings of facts, conclusions of law, and recommendations regarding a CN and route permit for the project. Decisions by the Commission on Enbridge's CN and route permit applications are anticipated in the spring of 2018. Click here for an environmental review and permitting flowchart.

Questions Asked and Answered

During the environmental review and hearing processes for the Line 3 project, the Department of Commerce and other agencies may receive questions from citizens, local governments, and tribes about the project. Twice a month we'll summarize here the questions that we've received and the answers that we've provided. Hopefully, these questions and answers will be helpful to all persons participating in the state's environmental review and hearing processes for the Line 3 project.

If you have a question about the Line 3 project or the state's environmental review and hearing processes for the Line 3 project, please contact us. Scroll down to the "Participate" section on this webpage and you'll find phone and email contacts for Department of Commerce and Commission staff.

  • January 9, 2017. Topics: maps; schedule; viewing testimony
  • January 23, 2017. Topics: SA-04; changes in oil blends; the social cost of carbon
  • February 6, 2017. Topics: decommissioning in-place of existing Line 3; Canadian National Energy Board report
  • February 20, 2017. Topics: U.S. State Department draft supplemental EIS for Line 67
  • April 10, 2017. Topics: Draft EIS issuance date; participating in public hearings
  • May 30, 2017. Topics: Draft EIS at libraries; public meeting format; Draft EIS comments
  • June 26, 2017. Topics: Availability of Draft EIS comments
  • September 12, 2017. Topics: Final EIS and Public Hearing Comment Periods

Participate

Sign up for the project mailing list to receive notices about project milestones and opportunities to participate (meetings, comment periods, etc.).  Contact docketing.puc@state.mn.us, 651-201-2204, or 1-800-657-3782 with the project's docket number(s), your name, mailing address, and email address.  The Line 3 project has two docket numbers.  The docket number for Enbridge's certificate of need application is 14-916.  The docket number for Enbridge's route permit application is 15-137.

To review all documents filed with the Commission regarding the Line 3 project, go to: http://www.mn.gov/puc/, click on "Search Documents, eDockets," and enter the docket number.  The Line 3 project has two docket numbers.  The docket number for Enbridge's certificate of need application is 14-916.  The docket number for Enbridge's route permit application is 15-137.

To receive an email every time a document is filed with the Commission regarding the Line 3 project, create a subscription with the Commission's electronic docketing system (eDockets).  Go to: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling/subscription/createSubscription.do?method=subscribeNew and follow the instructions. 

If you have questions or need more information please contact:

Minnesota Department of Commerce (Environmental Review)

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Permitting and Commission Process)

Enbridge Energy (Line 3 Project)

All Project Documents - eDockets

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