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Line 3 Pipeline Replacement - Enbridge

Docket PPL-15-1371

Project name Line 3 Pipeline Replacement
Applicant Enbridge, LLP
Description 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.
Location Aitkin County, Carlton County, Cass County, Clearwater County, Crow Wing County, Hubbard County, Kittson County, Marshall County, Pennington County, Polk County, Red Lake County, Wadena County
Contact Bret Eknes, PUC, Public Advisor
Bret.eknes@state.mn.us
651-201-2236

Scott Ek, PUC, Permitting & Commission Process
Scott.ek@state.mn.us
651-201-2255           

Louise Miltich, Commerce, Environmental Review
louise.miltich@state.mn.us
651-539-1853            

Enbridge Energy
Enbridgeinmn@enbridge.com
855-788-7805      

Project Summary

Enbridge Energy (Enbridge) proposed to construct a new oil pipeline in Minnesota to replace its existing Line 3 pipeline. Enbridge stated 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 applied for a certificate of need (CN) and a route permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) in April 2015. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, prepared an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project. The final EIS was issued in February 2018. Following public hearings and a report from an administrative law judge, the Commission issued a certificate of need and a route permit for the project in the fall of 2018.   

In June 2019, the Minnesota Court of Appeals found the final EIS for the project to be inadequate.  The Department of Commerce subsequently revised the final EIS.  On May 1, 2020, the Commission found the final EIS adequate and reissued the certificate of need and route permit for the project.

Public Participation

The Commission encourages and relies on public participation in making siting and routing decisions. A number of tools are offered here to assist citizens in discovering, tracking, and commenting on the Line 3 project. The Public Notices tab will house all public notices for the project, which are issued prior to public meetings or hearings held by the Commission, the Department of Commerce, and the Office of Administrative Hearings. The Public Meetings tab lists all upcoming public meetings and hearings on the project. The Open for Comment tab gives information on how to submit comments during open comment periods. The Receive Updates tab allows you to sign up to receive review process updates.

Key Project Documents

Date Title Description
05/04/2020 Commission Order Finding Second, Revised Final EIS Adequate and Reissuing a Certificate of Need and Route Permit for the Line 3 Project The Commission's order finding the second, revised final environmental impact statement (EIS) adequate and reissuing a certificate of need and route permit for the Line 3 project. Includes Commission order and reissued orders from 2018 and 2019.
12/09/2019 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Line 3 Pipeline Project - Second Revision The second revised final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Line 3 pipeline project. This second revision addresses the Commission's order to analyze a potential oil spill from the pipeline into the Lake Superior watershed.
10/09/2019 Commission Order Requesting Revision of Final EIS Commission order finding the final EIS inadequate and requesting the Department of Commerce to revise the EIS to include analysis of a potential oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed.
01/25/2019 Commission Order Approving Modifications to Certificate of Need for the Line 3 Project The Commission's order approving modifications to the certificate of need for the Line 3 project. The order addresses five modifications: parental guaranty, landowner choice program for pipeline removal, decommissioning trust fund, neutral footprint program, and liability insurance.
11/08/2018 Commission Order Granting a Pipeline Routing Permit for the Line 3 Project The Commission's order granting a pipeline routing permit for the Line 3 project. Includes order, routing permit, and maps.
10/05/2018 Comission Order Granting a Certificate of Need for the LIne 3 Project with Modifications and Requiring Additional Filings The Commission's order granting a certificate of need for the Line 3 project. The order requires additional filings which must be approved by the Commission.
07/06/2018 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Line 3 Pipeline Project - Revised The revised final EIS for the Line 3 pipeline project issued by the Deparment of Commerce
07/06/2018 Certificate of Need Application -- Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project Enbridge Energy is proposing to construct a new 337-mile long oil pipeline to replace an existing pipeline, Line 3, in Minnesota
07/06/2018 Route Permit Application -- Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project Enbridge Energy proposes to replace 337 miles of existing Line 3 Pipeline and associated facilities between the Norht Dakota/Minnesota border and the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.

View all Project Documents

Environmental Review & 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.

Pipeline Environmental Review & Permitting Process

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